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News | July 13, 2023

CASI Hosts USAFA Cadets for Summer Research Program

By Billy Blankenship Air University Public Affairs

The China Aerospace Studies Institute hosted four United States Air Force Academy cadets at their National Defense University facility in Washington, D.C., for a summer research program during June and July 2023.

The students from the academy‘s military and strategic studies department and foreign area studies department supported ongoing CASI research on Peoples Republic of China’s aerospace sector developments, especially as they relate to the People's Liberation Army.

“CASI has been an excellent opportunity to learn about how the PLA operates regarding its systems, command organization, and culture,” said Zachary Bollinger, a cadet in his senior year as a military strategic studies major hoping to earn his pilot wings in the future. “This information will aid my department to better educate future cadets about competing Air Force doctrine and myself as a commissioned officer to make informed decisions to prepare practical training to counter their capabilities.”

This is the fourth year CASI has hosted cadets as part of the academy’s 260 national and international agreements summer program, most of which are rising seniors with an interest or background relatable to studies in the Pacific. Like other opportunities, CASI enables cadet engagement in hands-on problem-solving of cutting-edge research topics while having opportunities to travel and collaborate with various military and civilian institutions around the world, which broadens their global perspectives. Cadets were also able to encounter senior leaders while touring the Pentagon and were able to visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

"It has been an absolute pleasure hosting the cadets and applying their linguistic, regional and technical expertise to real-world analysis,” said. Master Sgt. Daniel Salisbury, the institute’s senior enlisted leader for research. “They worked hard during their short time here and made significant contributions to several ongoing CASI projects. As they return for their final year at USAFA and go on to commission, I hope the impact they had here encourages them to continue studying our most consequential strategic competitor and use that knowledge to lead another generation of Airmen prepared to deter aggression and prevail in conflict when necessary."

The other cadet interns were Payton Rawson, Andre Birkner and Katrina Benson