Beau Biden, Attorney General of the State of Delaware and Captain in the Delaware Army National Guard, was on-hand to emphasize the importance of adopting the smart power approach, a lesson he learned first-hand while serving in Iraq. Military leaders like General Hugh Shelton, USA (Ret.), and Admiral James Loy, USCG (Ret.), also reinforced this message.
Watch Beau Biden’s remarks | Read the Transcript from the Full Veterans Event
This quote from Biden is particularly striking:
There’s never a question of America’s military might. You see it in the MRAPs that we now have overseas, walking to the mess hall with a M-16 strapped around your shoulder or a nine millimeter on your hip. And you see it in what is the best-trained fighting force that this world has ever seen. But military might…by itself is not enough. Simply having the best technology and the greatest and best-trained fighting force the world has known is not enough to protect our national security and our values as projected around the world. America must recognize the substantial and fundamental need to embrace…diplomacy and development and that this is a multi-faceted project.
In a poll released this week by the USGLC conducted by the bipartisan polling team of Geoff Garin from Peter D. Hart Research Associates (D) and Bill McInturff from Public Opinion Strategies (R), 83 percent of military leaders also say humanitarian efforts such as food assistance, and health, education, and economic development along with diplomacy are important to our national security.
“This new poll shows there is clear agreement across military leadership that civilian-led development and diplomacy efforts must be front and center alongside our military assets in meeting the foreign policy challenges we face today,” said Admiral Loy, who is co-chair of the USGLC’s National Security Advisory Council.
Adding to the chorus of military men and women who have come out to support the smart power causes, over 1,000 veterans and supporters have now signed a petition to Congress urging passage of a robust International Affairs Budget for Fiscal Year 2011. The petition is part of the USGLC’s Veterans for Smart Power initiative, which includes over 12,000 supporters throughout the country.