Provocative presence: Strategic ambiguity and naval options in a restive world

This talk will explore the peacetime uses and caveats of naval power as a channel for diplomatic signaling or to shape competitors’ options, with particular attention to the deepening tensions in East Asia, and the ways in which Taiwan’s security situation may evolve in response to new technologies and lessons learned from the war in Ukraine.

Captain Spillner holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science from the University of Illinois, with a research focus on real-time expert systems and high-reliability distributed computing, and a master’s degree in political science from the University of Amsterdam, with a specialization in political theory and behavior and a research focus on emerging democracies and armed conflict. He was commissioned as a submarine officer in 1999 via the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps program. He served as a junior officer aboard USS OHIO (SSBN/SSGN 726), and then as Navigator/Operations Officer on USS HAMPTON (SSN 767), Executive Officer on USS ALBUQUERQUE (SSN 706), and as Commanding Officer of USS SPRINGFIELD (SSN 761) and USS GREENEVILLE (SSN 772). He has made four Western Pacific deployments.

Ashore, CAPT Spillner has served as an Olmsted Scholar in the Netherlands, Assistant Nuclear Officer Program Manager on the Navy Staff in Arlington, Virginia, Protocol Branch Head for the NATO Allied Joint Forces Command in Naples, Italy, and Combat Readiness Evaluation Team Senior Member on the staff of Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.