Midshipmen from the MIT and BU Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps unit welcomed Vice Admiral Paul J. Bushong to Massachusetts Institute of Technology on February 28th to discuss his career and current service assignment. VADM Bushong, a 1981 Naval Academy graduate, is currently the U.S. Security Coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority in Jerusalem. His primary responsibility is to the Secretary of State “for assisting the Palestinian Authority to transform and professionalize its security sector, advocating for security initiatives that build trust and confidence, and supporting whole-of-government efforts to set the conditions for a negotiated two-state solution” (Navy.mil).
Over an engaging discussion and lunch, midshipmen asked intelligent and provoking questions with regard to Israeli-Palestinian affairs. VADM Bushong discussed his experiences travelling between the West Bank, Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv every week. While the three are located no more than 45 miles apart, VADM Bushong noted that the places are drastically different. On top of that travel, he comes back to Washington every three months to brief the Department of Defense on his work.
As a submarine officer in the desert, VADM Bushong certainly stands out in more ways than one. Commenting on his choice to become a submariner, Bushong noted that his original desire at the Naval Academy was to join the Marine Corps. The Navy had other plans for him, however, and he was selected for the submarine service. Bushongs says that “the Navy needed me for the job, so that’s what I wanted to do.”
Looking back on his experiences to date, VADM Bushong remarked that the tours that stand out most in his memory were the ones at sea with his sailors. Midshipman 2nd Class Josh Dalva of Boston University asked the question that seemed to be on everyone’s mind: “Being a submarine officer, how did you come into your current service assignment?”
Without missing a beat, Bushong responded, “By taking the road less travelled. Part of the game is being willing to play, and that involves taking the job assignments that interest you, rather than those that are predetermined for a successful career.” Bushong left the midshipmen with a new perspective about the kinds of job that are available for naval officers. The midshipmen of the Boston Consortium found Vice Admiral Bushong’s visit enlightening and were appreciative of the opportunity to spend the afternoon with him.
Written by: MIDN 2/c Vadim Reytblat