Thursday, February 23, 2023

US Defense Department Launches Office of Strategic Capital


An alternate director at the Guam Chamber of Commerce, Juan Carlos Benitez is the president of Washington Pacific Economic Development Group, LLC. An attorney by training, Juan Carlos Benitez served as an advisor in US President George W. Bush’s administration and has expertise in territorial matters and US national defense.

On Dec. 1, 2022, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III announced the establishment of the Office of Strategic Capital (OSC) at the Department of Defense (DOD). The new office will strengthen the country’s technological advantage in defense by focusing private capital into the development of critical technologies.

The United States’ technological advancement has long been the foundation of the country’s military superiority. To maintain this advantage, the Department of Defense must continuously develop and scale important technologies in quantum science, biotech, and advanced materials. However, it takes considerable investment to move such technologies from ideation in the laboratory to mass production. The Defense Secretary is building OSC to bridge that financing gap.

OSC has a mandate to identify promising technology areas in academia and industry and prioritize funding for these areas. The office will promote funding either internally, through the DOD, or externally through partnerships with the private sector. OSC will also contribute to developing and implementing policies that advance private sector industrial capabilities.

Monday, April 15, 2019

The Professional Certifications Offered by the Latte Training Academy

The president of the Latte Training Academy, Juan Carlos Benitez helps individuals in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) advance their careers through credentialed skill-based training. Having worked on behalf of Hispanic populations around the world as an attorney, Juan Carlos Benitez focuses the Academy’s programs and services on several in-demand business sectors within the CMNI. The organization maintains a certification rate of about 90 percent and has trained 750 students to date.

Through multiple partnerships, the Latte Training Academy offers professional certifications in the fields of hotel and hospitality, healthcare, information technology, and business administration, as well as additional career-advancement opportunities. Its hotel-and-hospitality certification is recognized around the globe, and students who receive the certification will typically find opportunities in the CNMI’s robust tourism industry. 

Through the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) and the American Medical Certification Association (AMCA), students train to become nursing assistants and medical billing specialists by taking Allied Health courses. CompTIA, a leading IT credentialing body, assists students with a variety of careers in the IT industry, and students may also achieve accreditation in business administration through the Accounting Training Unlimited (ATU) and the National Bookkeepers Association (NBA). Beyond these specialties, interested parties may receive additional professional training at the Latte Training Academy through an affiliation with the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Diversity a Priority at the 2018 HNBA Convention

With a juris doctor from the Inter-American School of Law, Juan Carlos Benitez is an attorney and legal advisor whose past roles include acting as special counsel for immigration-related unfair employment practices at the US Department of Justice. In conjunction with his experience as an attorney, Juan Carlos Benitez is also a member of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA).

In September 2018, the Annual HNBA Convention took place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Professionals from all across the legal sector, including judges, general counsel for private companies, and political figures attended the event, the 43rd of its kind.

One of the most important takeaways from the convention was a point driven home through one of the event’s keynote speeches, given by the Oracle Corporation’s general counsel and executive vice president Dorian Daley. In her speech, Daley spoke of the importance of diversity in both the legal workplace and in greater society. Per an article from Al Dia News, Daley was quoted as saying “This is still a diverse country, and . . . it will remain a diverse country. If we don’t recognize that, if we don’t embrace that, we will lose.”

Sunday, July 8, 2018

The 2018 AILA Annual Conference on Immigration Law

Having earned his law degree from the Inter-American School of Law, Juan Carlos Benitez belongs to the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). 

Established in 1946, AILA represents the interests of more than 15,000 immigration attorneys and law professors throughout the United States. In June, the AILA held its annual meeting in San Francisco. The 2018 AILA Annual Conference on Immigration Law (AC18) presented immigration law professionals with ample opportunities for both networking and professional development.

Learning sessions at the conference ranged from strategy sessions led by AILA National Officers to Managing Stress and Avoiding Substance Abuse, a special program designed to help attorneys cope with the pressures of their profession. Other notable sessions at AC18 included Hot Topics in Asylum Jurisprudence, Selling an Immigration Law Practice, and Risk Assessment and Client Management in a Changing System. A more thorough recap of AC18 can be found online at

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Expanding Opportunities with Campus Wide Extended Studies

Juan Carlos Benitez, a prominent labor attorney, is a long-time advocate of promoting the economic development of the Pacific region. In his role as chairman, Juan Carlos Benitez coordinates the workforce development programs operated by the Latte Training Academy.

The Latte Training Academy, headquartered on the island of Saipan, provides residents of the Northern Mariana Islands with vocational and professional training through partnerships with recognized institutions, such as the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs' Campus Wide Extended Studies (CWES). 

CWES offers certification, professional development, and degree programs through distance learning and accelerated-format courses. The non-traditional program offers flexibility that caters to the needs of a diverse student population. Students can elect to earn credits online or attend in-person classes on a condensed schedule. 

CWES also offers a range of non-credit courses to support individuals in their life-long learning goals and professional development. All degrees and certificates are awarded by the University of Colorado. CWES is fully accredited by the North Central Association.

Friday, February 16, 2018

ABA Releases New Guidebook for Courtroom Visuals

A native of Puerto Rico, Juan Carlos Benitez holds a juris doctor from the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico School of Law and now serves as the president of the Washington Pacific Economic Development Group (WPEDG) in Hagatna, Guam. Alongside his work with WPEDG, Juan Carlos Benitez maintains membership in the American Bar Association (ABA).

In late January 2018, the ABA debuted the book Demonstratives: Definitive Treatise on Visual Persuasion, which provides guidance to lawyers and other legal professionals who want to improve their skills in using visual aids in a courtroom environment. The book looks at situations that benefit from the inclusion of visual aids such as charts, graphs, and maps, and also documents instances of when visual aids only serve to add unnecessary complexity to the ideas presented.

Topics covered in the book include defining what demonstratives actually are, how to design them, and how to use them most effectively during depositions and trials. The book also contains an “Inspiration Index” of 300-plus examples of visual concepts to help trial attorneys get a solid understanding of what has been proven to work.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

The Benefits of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program

Attorney Juan Carlos Benitez serves as the chairman of Latte Training Academy, which provides vocational training to residents of the Northern Mariana Islands. The president of Washington Pacific Economic Development Group, LLC, Juan Carlos Benitez established the first Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) project in the Marianas. 

LIHTC is the US government’s primary federal subsidy to promote the development and rehabilitation of affordable homes for the low-income population. The program, established in 1986 by the Tax Reform Act, gives approximately 8 billion dollars to state and local agencies annually as tax credits for developing or rehabilitating affordable housing. 

LIHTC has benefited communities in the Mariana Islands and across the United States in many ways. The main benefit is affordable housing, as close to 50 percent of LIHTC households have incomes below the federal poverty level, according to research by the NYU Furman Center. Another benefit is revitalized neighborhoods. Research has shown that LIHTC developments reduce poverty and crime and improve access to better quality education.