Earlier this month, USGLC’s Veterans for Smart Power went on the road with two distinguished members of our National Security Advisory Council. Lieutenant General Larry Nicholson, USMC (Ret.) and Lieutenant General Timothy Fay, USAF (Ret.) were the featured speakers at roundtable discussions in in Oak Grove, KY and Colorado Springs, CO, respectively. Amid the backdrop of international crises such as the war in Ukraine and its reverberating global consequences, these events are part of an ongoing effort to raise awareness of how diplomacy and development programs advance America’s national security.
Fort Campbell, Kentucky
The Kentucky event was hosted in a community just outside the gates of Fort Campbell—a military base that is home to some of the most storied units of the U.S. Army, such as the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and the 5th Special Forces Group (Green Berets). As a feature of its foreign internal defense mission, the soldiers of the 5th group work closely with America’s diplomats, closer than any other outfit. As such, the event was attended by veterans who are familiar with the close ties between the military and the U.S. Department of State.
Lieutenant General Nicholson offered lessons learned through working with partners and allies in the Indo-Pacific and beyond over his 39 years in the Marines. From the value of cultural exchange to the necessity of close ties and open dialogue, the message was clear: American leadership is the essential element for global stability and security, and it takes all of our civilian and military tools to fully realize the positive impacts of that leadership.
Colorado Springs, Colorado
In the shadow of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains stand several important and strategic military bases spanning multiple branches of service. Home to the United States Air Force Academy, U.S. Northern Command, and Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado Springs has a built-in veteran community interested national security. Veterans for Smart Power met in downtown Colorado Springs and were joined by local military and veteran leaders representing a wide array of interests and organizations, from space to veteran services. Lieutenant General Fay discussed the role of “smart power,” including development and diplomacy as a crucial aspect of America’s national security toolkit.
General Fay, whose service culminated as the Director of Staff at Air Force Headquarters at the Pentagon, shared why it is important for our national security leaders to start with diplomacy as often as possible before turning to military action. He provided additional insight as to which sectors he sees the greatest need for American investment and development in around the world to protect our national security.
We were so thrilled to get on the road last week to see familiar faces and make some new friends, too. Look for more events like these coming to a neighborhood near you!