Laguna’s Howard Hills Called Back To Washington, D.C.

Howard Hills of Laguna Beach. File photo

By Craig Lockwood, Special to the Independent

Laguna’s Howard Hills was called to Washington on April 27 to serve as senior advisor to the Office of Insular Affairs​ in the U.S. Department of the Interior.

As a young Peace Corps volunteer, the former Laguna Beach High School Class of ’70 student body president, had been assigned to Micronesia, a region of the Western Pacific nearly as large as the continental United States, with 2,000 islands and a total land mass less than one half the size of Rhode Island, where, in 1978, he drafted constitutions and legal codes in emerging Pacific island nations.

Returning to California three years later, Hills was commissioned in the U.S. Navy as a JAG (Judge Advocate General) lawyer, and served in 1982 as a strategic treaty negotiator assigned to the Executive Office of the President, and the National Security Council.

As lead legal counsel for a major treaty portfolio in the White House, he negotiated treaties of strategic alliance with the Pacific island governments he had helped to establish.

Hills is a nationally recognized scholar specializing in democratization of America’s remaining island territories. His book “Citizens Without A State” is available at Laguna Beach Books.

Between penning constitutions and authoring books, Hills testified in over 20 Congressional hearings on ratification of the Micronesian treaties, recognized as a U.S. foreign policy success story giving peace and democracy a chance in strategically critical Micronesia.

Those Micronesian treaties were set to expire in 2023.

Facing China’s expansionist efforts in the Pacific, bipartisan support has emerged in Congress and the national security community agreeing that treaty alliances Hills shaped should be extended.

Under a non-political appointment based on professional expertise, Hills will serve as an advisor to the U.S. negotiators seeking to extend the Micronesia treaties far into the future.

Craig Lockwood is a lifetime local journalist/author whose recently published tenth book, “Lifeguarding Laguna” is now available on Amazon. Lockwood is a member of the U.S. Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Association and a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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  1. @Carrie Reynolds,

    Your classless and disrespectful remark is unwarranted. But then again, I wouldn’t expect anything less from you.

  2. Howard Hills was an excellent student of mine when he was enrolled in my English class at Laguna Beach High School way back in the mid-’60s of an earlier century.

    Even at my advanced age, when I have more years than wisdom, I still remember nearly all those great kids – well, former kids! – and happily see or hear from several of them from time to time.

    Howard is among the kindest, funniest, most thoughtful, insightful, generous-spirited, and memorable of all those wonderful, unforgettable students.

    So I am not surprised to read about the breadth and depth of his splendid accomplishments. Though he has still not managed to become more humble or better-looking than his beautiful, self-effacing English teacher, Howard’s life, which has involved him in spending much time, thought, and effort in helping others, makes me proud to know him.

    As one of his fellow students recently taught me, success is mostly a feeling. Knowing something of the struggles Howard had to overcome as a youngster, and knowing a little about his lovely wife and family, I hope he feels joy in the great success of his giving life.

    And of course I will try to find some way to take credit for everything he has ever done!


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