We just celebrated Veterans Day, an opportunity for the country to express our gratitude to the men and women who bravely served in the U.S. military. And at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) we are especially proud to recognize our growing network of Veterans for Smart Power and the vital role that veterans play in advocating for smart power and global engagement. Our veterans’ commitment to national security and their dedication to a strong, interconnected world are invaluable assets, and we are immensely thankful for their service, both on and off the battlefield.
Following their service, many veterans – still looking to serve their country and its interests overseas – have transitioned from military service to becoming advocates for smart power. Smart power is a strategic approach to foreign policy that combines military and non-military tools to advance our national security interests. It recognizes that military force alone is not enough to address the complex challenges of the modern world. Instead, smart power focuses on utilizing all our elements of national power, including diplomacy, development, and cooperation to promote peace and stability, alongside a strong defense.
Veterans have played a pivotal role in promoting smart power to achieve our national security goals. They bring a unique perspective that combines their military experiences serving our nation with a deep understanding of the importance of diplomatic and development efforts in preventing conflicts and promoting U.S. interests. These veterans understand the importance of U.S. global leadership and engagement, having witnessed the consequences of conflict firsthand. As Lt. Gen. Earl Hailston, a member of the USGLC National Security Advisory Council, said in Washington, DC recently, “nobody in the military wants to fight. They’re the ones in uniform that are facing the brunt of the death and injury.”
Through organizations like USGLC, veterans have found a platform to advocate for smart power and global engagement. Their voices resonate with authority and authenticity, offering valuable insights and stories highlighting the impact of diplomacy, development, and global health. Veterans have been instrumental in raising awareness about the importance of U.S. foreign assistance programs. They understand that these programs not only promote peace and stability but also create economic opportunities and strengthen global partnerships. Their advocacy helps ensure that the United States remains safe and increases the safety of those who serve.
As we reflect on Veterans Day, let us not only express our gratitude to all who have served our country but also recognize their essential role as advocates for smart power. Veterans have witnessed the power of development and diplomacy in achieving national security goals, and they continue to be champions of a more interconnected, secure and stable world.
Just as our military and our civilian agencies – like the State Department, USAID, and others – work hand in hand to protect our interests, the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition is proud to work alongside veterans committed to promoting a holistic approach to foreign policy. Together, we can honor our veterans by supporting policies and initiatives that strengthen our nation’s security while advancing peace and prosperity around the world.
To all our veterans, we say thank you for your service and advocacy for smart power. Your dedication and insights make a profound difference in our nation’s approach to global leadership.