East Asia has been dominated in theory and practice by state-centric policy considerations heavily influenced by the great powers. This perspective is threatened by the rise of non traditional security (NTS) challenges and undermined by great power irresponsibility. These challenges can also, however, represent avenues of opportunity for other actors. The central research question addressed by this article, therefore, is what role can and should be played by newly empowered or recognized actors in addressing NTS challenges, according to policy prescription from more reflectivist approaches to international relations theory? This article utilizes social constructivism and related perspectives to identify how regional middle powers and civil societies can be empowered as agents with a responsibility to innovate in the construction of institutions responsive to NTS challenges.