Gen. Petraeus at USGLC Event in Tampa

February 4, 2010 By Jordan Smith

Last night, General David Petraeus, head of U.S. Central Command, spoke at a forum about the vital role development plays in U.S. national security in the 21st century, jointly hosted by the USGLC and the Tampa Bay Council on World Affairs. Over 600 people turned out to see Gen. Petraeus, who highlighted the importance of civilians working alongside the military to achieve success around the world.

Discussing the importance of development, diplomacy and defense all working together, General Petraeus said, “tens of thousands of civilians are working closely with their military counterparts in the Central Command region to achieve the conditions we hope to establish, and this is obviously a hugely important aspect of our operations.”

One development area General Petraeus mentioned specifically is literacy and its mportance to securing Afghanistan.  He said, “You can’t enforce the law if you can’t read it.  We’ve almost found it more helpful to teach them to read up to an eighth-grade level than anything else.”

The event marked the launch of the Putting Smart Power to Work campaign in Florida, as well as the new Florida State Advisory Committee, a group of government, military, business and faith-based leaders from the state committed to educating Floridians on the importance of a smart power foreign policy approach.