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The Role of Military-to-Military Engagement in Building the U.S. – Cuba Relationship
May 26

The Role of Military-to-Military Engagement in Building the U.S. – Cuba Relationship

12:00 pm - 01:30 pm. Time zone: America/New_York

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Date May 26th2016
Time 12:00pm – 1:30pm
Location American Security Project – 1100 New York Ave., 7th Floor, West Tower, Washington DC 20005


On April 20th, American Security Project formally launched its Cuba Program in Miami, Florida. “Pathways to the Future of US-Cuba Relations” examines how to build confidence between Cuba and the United States, and the benefits of closer relationships between the two governments and peoples through the lens of national security.


Military-to-Military Engagement (mil-to-mil or M2M) Programs are essential to strong inter-country relationships. Individual engagements, traveling contact teams, military liaison teams, military and government exchange programs, and seminars and conferences among various nation’s militaries develop partnerships between governments, militaries, and individuals.

These exchanges build relationships and establish communication and cooperation before an emergency, and provide opportunities to discuss possible conflicts in advance. Long-standing M2M programs continue to play an important role in the U.S. foreign policy, evidenced by their proliferation across the commands. The budding U.S. – Cuba relationship can be no different.

Join American Security Project on Thursday, May 26th for “The Role of Military-to-Military Engagement in Building the U.S. – Cuba Relationship,” a roundtable discussion on the first in a series of Cuba-focused Perspective Papers. The conversation, and inaugural paper, will examine the existing U.S.-Cuba mil-to-mil relationship and a strategy for successful engagement over the next decade.

Lunch refreshments will be served from 12:00pm – 12:30pm.

Please arrive by 12:00pm for registration.

Due to limited space, guests will need to request an RSVP


Additional Resources:


Speaker Bios:


BGen. Stephen A. Cheney, USMC (Ret.) 

is the Chief Executive Officer of the American Security Project (ASP) and a member of the Department of State’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board.

He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and has over 30 years experience as a Marine.  His career included a wide variety of command and staff positions with the operating forces and the supporting establishment.  Gen. Cheney’s primary specialty was artillery, but he focused extensively on entry-level training, commanding at every echelon at both Marine Corps Recruit Depots, to include being the Commanding General at Parris Island.  He served several years in Japan and has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East and Asia.

Other selected highlights of Gen. Cheney’s military career include tours as Deputy Executive Secretary to Defense Secretaries Cheney and Aspin; ground plans officer for Drug Enforcement Policy in the Pentagon; liaison to the Congressional Commission on Roles and Missions of the Armed Forces; and Inspector General of the Marine Corps.

Following retirement from the Marines, Gen. Cheney became the Chief Operating Officer for Business Executives for National Security (BENS), in Washington, D.C., and most recently was President/CEO of the Marine Military Academy in Harlingen, Texas.

Gen. Cheney is a graduate of the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, the National War College, and the University of Southern California. He was a military fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City, where he is a member. Additionally, he is also a member of the Secretary of State’s International Security Advisory Board.

Gen. Cheney has been on the Board of Directors for ASP since 2006.

Col. Ken Robbins, USA (Ret.)

Kendric H. Robbins is a retired Army officer with more than twenty years of experience serving in tactical, operational and strategic level assignments.  Most recently, he served as a Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff of the United States Army. Prior to that assignment, he commanded a Stryker infantry battalion forward stationed in Germany.  He has also served as the operations officer and later executive officer an infantry battalion while deployed to Salman Pak, Iraq.  Ken commanded a cavalry troop as part of the NATO Stabilization Force (SFOR) in Bosnia.  As a platoon leader, he and his Soldiers operated a remote observation post on the Macedonian and Serbian border conducting UN peacekeeping operations (UNPREDEP).  He also served as an assistant professor and executive officer in the Department of Social Sciences at West Point, were he taught courses on American politics.

In 2009, Ken was appointed as one of fifteen White House Fellows by President Obama.  He served as a Special Assistant to the Director of the Office of Personnel Management.  Ken worked closely with career civil servants and politcal appointees at OPM in the drafting of Executive Order 13518, Employment of Veterans in the Federal Government, which established the Veterans Employment Initiative. After his White House Fellowship, Ken served as an Army Fellow at the Department of State.

Ken is the co-founder and CEO of Agent Hero Inc., which aims to connect home buyers and sellers with carefully selected professional real estate agents who are military veterans or spouses.

His educational background includes a B.S. in American Politics from the United States Military Academy and a Master in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School where he was recognized for academic and leadership excellence.  His military awards include the Legion of Merit, NATO medal, and UN Medal.

CDR Louis Orsini, USCG (Ret.)

Lou Orsini is the Senior Maritime Law Enforcement Advisor for the Chief, Office of Law Enforcement in U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, DC.  He provides expert advice on a variety of law enforcement strategies, policies, tactics, techniques and procedures, and is primarily responsible for all international aspects of USCG maritime law enforcement with a particular emphasis on western hemispheric initiatives.  His primary duty is to weave international considerations and requirements from all constituents into USCG law enforcement strategy and policy to ensure effective program management.  Mr. Orsini is a 1973 graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.  He received his Masters degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College and his Masters in Management from Salve Regina in 1990.  He commanded two cutters, and served in four others during a 26-year active duty Coast Guard career.  Between seagoing assignments, Mr. Orsini served in a wide variety of positions including Chief of Naval Operations Liaison Officer in the Pentagon, and as the Maritime Security Assistance Officer and Deputy in the Military Liaison Office in Barbados.  He also served as Deputy Group Commander of USCG Group Fort Macon, and as Chief, Fisheries Enforcement Division for USCG Atlantic Area.   Mr. Orsini retired from active duty in 2000 as a Commander, and has served in his current position since then.


The American Security Project is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy and research organization dedicated to fostering knowledge and understanding of a range of national security issues, promoting debate about the appropriate use of American power, and cultivating strategic responses to 21st century challenges. For more information, visitwww.americansecurityproject.org.