By Melissa Bower, Fort Leavenworth LampMarch 19, 2009
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (March 19, 2009) - More than a dozen members of the corporate business world had an eye-opening experience visiting with Command and General Staff College students as part of a National Security Roundtable March 16-17.
John McNeill, owner and developer of The Cellars at Betty's Creek in North Carolina, said he was impressed after having long talks with his CGSC escort. McNeill was in the Marines from 1969 to 1973 and was amazed at the changes in the military. Learning about globalization and national security issues were frightening, he said, but important.
"Civilians know so very little about what goes on here, much less the world," he said. "It would do us all a world of good to sit here and listen to this and learn about the caliber of officers here."
The roundtable was sponsored by the CGSC Foundation. This is the fifth time business members throughout the United States have visited. Most are corporate executives or owners of their businesses and have been selected by the CGSC Foundation.
Bob Ulin, CGSC Foundation CEO, said the program helped fulfill the strategic outreach requirement to share the stories of service members with the general public. It is modeled after a program at the Army War College.
"We want to tell the message about the Army, the college and the great work these young men and women are doing for our country," he said.
The event included remarks by Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. George Casey and CGSC Deputy Commandant Brig. Gen. Edward Cardon, as well as a tour of staff groups.
In a presentation panel to business leaders, Department of Joint, Interagency and Multinational Operations instructors shared the same national security issues they teach to Intermediate Level Education course students every day. CGSC instructors Eric McMillin, Ross Crumrine, Jeff Vordermark and John Cary offered a military insider's view of moving forward with Middle East policy in President Barack Obama's administration. The opportunities, challenges and threats in Egypt, Turkey and Iran were discussed.
"Among the many foreign policy challenges that face President Obama, there are few, if any, that are more urgent, complex and difficult than that of what to do about Iran, especially how to confront its apparently relentless pursuit of nuclear capability," Cary told business leaders.
He shared a map of Iran's known sites related to nuclear production. Cary said Iran is in a unique position to affect the security of the state of Israel and access to the region's oil and gas resources.
A second panel followed about the future of Iraq, using ILE students as panel experts.
Students also escorted business leaders to their staff groups. Maj. Douglas Chimenti escorted Richard Lozier, of Belin Law Firm, and Maj. Dane Tynes escorted Lee Anderson, chairman of the API Group, to visit their 18D staff group. The students shared how ILE is conducted and the educational opportunities available for them to achieve master's degrees while attending CGSC.
Anderson said his company makes life safety equipment, such as fire protection and building alarms. He said API, which is headquartered in Minnesota, has hired many veterans rotating out of the armed services.
"We're very selective," he said. "We look for the very best. We look for the leadership, and we think the military is a huge resource. You can't learn at any college what they're learning here."