Roundtable with Chris Socha

On Wednesday 11 October 2023, the Perth USAsia Centre hosted Chris Socha, Staff Director at the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Matt Sullivan, Chief Counsel of the Committee, and Mike Urena, Professional Staff Member covering Political-Military affairs for Senator Jim Risch, for a roundtable attended by leaders from government, business, industry, and education.
The US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations is a standing committee in the US Congress, charged with leading foreign policy legislation and debate. These discussions have become increasingly complex, as the strategic dynamics of the Indo-Pacific continue to evolve, and the US seeks to redefine its engagement in the region.
Mr Socha joined us to discuss the US outlook on the Indo-Pacific, and the future of the US-Australia partnership in the region.
The Australia-US alliance is more important than ever. Building on the relationship, AUKUS brings a new level of integration in security and defence-related science, technology, industrial bases, and supply chains. The alliance is broader than growing defence cooperation, however. Australia and the US are committed to a rules-based order and economic cooperation. In times of increasing strategic competition in the Indo-Pacific, both will continue to collaborate to promote these shared values in the region.

About Chris Socha

Chris Socha is the Staff Director of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, where he serves as the principal advisor to Ranking Member, Senator James Risch (Id), and manages the Committee on the Senator’s behalf. Under the Senator, the Committee has focused on strategic competition with China and Russia, support for Ukraine and Taiwan, and improving the security relationship in the Middle East. He has run the Committee since 2018.

Previously, he was the Legislative Director and Senior Advisor for National Security Affairs to Senator Risch. He led the Senator’s hearings on Russia and Ukraine, the Balkans, Lebanon and global authoritarianism. He has also worked on NATO enlargement, strengthening U.S. support for Eastern Europe, upgrading U.S. missile defense, and consideration of the New START Treaty. In addition, he was the Staff Director of the National Security Working Group, which is a bipartisan group of senators working on security issues including arms control, missile defense, and export controls.

Prior to this, Mr Socha worked for Senator Jim DeMint (S.C.), where he served as Senior Policy Advisor on defense and foreign relations issues and was responsible for Senator DeMint’s activities on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where he served as the Ranking Member on the European Affairs Subcommittee. He guided the Senator’s work on ascension for Croatia and Albania into NATO, improving logistics routes for Afghanistan, Honduras’s Constitutional crisis, and stronger U.S. policies toward Russia.

Mr Socha received his B.A. in Political Science (National Security Policy) and Psychology (Pharmacology) from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He holds an M.A. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Air Command and Staff College.

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