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.Firebrand Media LLC wants comments that advance the discussion, and we need your help to accomplish this mission. Debate and disagreement are welcomed on our platforms but do it with respect. We won't censor comments we disagree with. Viewpoints from across the political spectrum are welcome here. While everyone is entitled to their opinion, our community is not obliged to host all comments shared on its website or social media pages, including:
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