February 6th, 2007
30 - February 1, I was honored to participate in the Air War College
National Security Forum Alumni Outreach Program held at MacDill Air
Force Base. As a 2001 Alumni of the Air War College National
Security Forum, I was selected as one of 18 individuals from around
the country to be updated on current Air Force and Department of
Defense issues and provided the opportunity to share our ideas and
opinions with some of the top military leaders in the War on Terror.
War College National Security Forum
Each year the Air War College
(AWC), a senior military service school located at Maxwell Air Force
Base in Montgomery, Alabama, hosts the National Security Forum
(NSF). The Secretary of the Air Force sponsors the forum. NSF
began in 1954 as an expansion of the Civilian Outreach Seminars held
from 1947 through 1949. The Forum has been conducted each
consecutive year since 1954. The purpose of the NSF is to expose
influential American civilians to the United States Armed Forces in
order to gain an appreciation for each other's perspectives. It's
an opportunity for the AWC students, our future military leaders, to
interact with a broad cross-section of civilian leaders from
businesses, universities, industry, media, law, the clergy, and
state and local governments. On average, about 120-130 guests
attend the NSF each year.
The primary objective of
the NSF is a frank and candid exchange of views on national security
matters among our invited guests, Air War College students, and
senior military and civilian leaders. The week is devoted to
exploring the many issues that affect the current and future
security of our country. Historically, the NSF occurs at the end of
the school's academic year and lasts four and one-half days.
Objectives of the NSF
To provide a privileged forum in which authorities on various
aspects of national security may discuss their views with students,
faculty of the AWC and invited guests.
To provide an extended opportunity for free and candid
dialogues on national security issues among the college's students,
faculty, and guests. Guests represent a diverse group of American
citizens drawn from many fields of American life and endeavor.
To enable distinguished American civilians and prospective
future leaders of America's armed forces to get to know one another
in the interest of broadened perspectives and mutual understanding.
To increase our guests' knowledge of national security issues
and expose them to our professional military education system.
Air War College
National Security Forum Alumni Outreach Program
During the three
day program, briefings included “Fourth Generation Warfare” by Vice
Admiral David Nichols, Deputy Commander, US Central Command
(CENTCOM), “Global War on Terror Update from a Special Operations
Command Perspective” by Major General David Scott, USAF, Deputy
Director, Center for Special Operations, United States Special
Operations Command (USSOC), “Air Force Horizons” by Lt. General
Steve Lorenz, Commander of the Air University and former Commandant
of the Air Force Academy, and “Arabs and the Middle East” by Dr.
David Sorenson of the Air War College. In addition to the
briefings, we were given a tour of MacDill Air Force Base by Colonel
Tim Smith, Vice Commander, 6th Air Mobility Wing. The
tour included meeting with an air crew and an escorted tour of a
included a slide presentation and an extended period for questions
and answers. While the briefings themselves were not of a
classified nature, a non-attribution policy was in place for the NSF
that does not allow me to quote specific presenters directly.
Almost as important
as the briefings was the opportunity to have diner and interact with
some of the most remarkable, humble and distinguished leaders in our
military. Major General Dave Scott is Deputy Director of the Center
of Special Operations, an organization that plans, synchronizes and
executes special operations in the conduct of the Global War on
Terrorism in order to disrupt, defeat and destroy terrorist networks
that threaten the United States, its citizens and interests
When I met Dave at a reception held in our honor by the
Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, he introduced himself and we had
a chance to chat for nearly 45 minutes. We discussed everything I
could think of, including Donald Rumsfeld, how he perceived the
Presidents he served under, the role of television in modern
warfare, his career in the military as a C-130 pilot delivering
Special Operations forces worldwide and his current role in the war
on terrorism. I never felt he was anything but forthcoming and
honest in his responses. I walked away in awe of his service to our
county and his professional demeanor.
I spent a lot of private time with was Major General Steve Miller,
the Commandant of the Air War College. A command pilot, Steve has
logged more than 2,800 flying hours in F-15 fighter aircraft. If
ever there was a role model for the Air Force fighter pilot, Steve
epitomized it. He attended every event with the Outreach Program
participants and always treated each of us as a very special guest.
While on duty, Steve wore his squadron colors tucked neatly into the
front of his jumpsuit. As we moved around the base, he took every
opportunity to speak with the enlisted personnel and ask them about
their families, their role in the military and encouraged them to
continue to their career. This is a man that you would trust with
your life and be honored to call a friend.
Some of the more
fascinating information from the briefings includes the follows:
traditional battle field has been replaced with a non-linear “battle
space”. Our enemies exploit the seams and attack wherever there is
vulnerability. Media has become “terrain” and information has
become a main line operation.
current cost of occupation in Iraq is $12 billion dollars per month
and we may need to remain in the region for the next 25 to 50 years.
military leadership suggests that Osama Bin Laden and Iran become
less a focal point on the Global War on Terror. Focusing on them
does more harm than good.
President Ahmadinejad is becoming increasingly unpopular at home and
will likely be told to “sit down and shut-up” by the Assembly of
Experts of Iran.
Special operations forces are facing exposure in the media and it is
making their ability to conduct covert operations more difficult and
military bases are provided with an 11 month budget to cover utility
costs are required to figure out how to reduce expenses to live
within that budget.
Shortly after 9/11, three women stood on Bayshore Boulevard,
outside MacDill Air Force Base on Friday afternoons and waved American flags. They called themselves the Bayshore Patriots, and continue to do
so to this day.
600 operating KC-135 Stratotankers were built between 1955 and 1964
and are not anticipated to be replaced for at least 20 years! These tankers are essential to operational readiness and national
in the Air War College in 2001 and the recent NSF Outreach
Program are among the most memorable things I have done in my
life. I will never forget the lessons learned, the truly
remarkable military leaders that touched my life even briefly
and the relationships I developed as the result of these
Recently, after a
presentation from the Library Board, Novi City Council voted 6-0
(Council Member Margolis was on vacation and had a letter of strong
support read into the record) to move forward with a request to
place a $16 million bond on the November ballot. There is only a
single message I want to share at this point. Show your
support for the current proposal and vote YES on the bond proposal
only a few months away, I have not yet heard of any candidates
who have filed for the School Board election. I have also heard
very little about the bond proposal the School Board is going to
present to the residents. Should residents approve a bond for
adult education and elementary school improvements? It might be
a very tough sell this year.
With a new
Geographic Information System interactive mapping portal,
visitors to the City of Novi’s website at
www.cityofnovi.org can get
a bird’s eye view of any property or location of interest. I
don’t know about you, but the amount of information now
available on nearly every property parcel in our City makes me a
little nervous. Anybody can find the exact location of nearly
anybody living in our community. Want to know how much your
neighbor paid for their house, where the Detroit Lion players
and there families live or how much property tax City Council
members pay, just go to the Cities website and it is all there
for our preying eyes. I guess that is the price we pay for
Kudos to Mayor Dave
Landry for his State of the City speech. I saw it twice and it
done and came from the heart. I hope he chooses to run for another
term as our Mayor. He has accomplished a great deal and has much
more to offer.
retirement to two outstanding City of Novi employees, Jack Lewis, Deputy
Director of Parks & Recreation, and our Library Director, Brenda Lussier. They have both done great jobs for many years and I
will miss working with both of them. I hope they stay around as
Finally, watch for
yours truly on Cable Access Channel 13 doing a segment of my friend
Celia Todd’s public interest show. I cooked up several dishes
(which the SWOCC crew devoured) and the segments will show during
the next several months. It was great fun and the recipes will be
available on my website
www.davidstaudt.com in the near future.
- Well done
is better than well said.
Franklin US author, diplomat, inventor, physicist, politician, &
printer (1706 - 1790)