The U.S. Army appointed its newest Civilian Aides to the Secretary of the Army Feb. 26 during an investment ceremony here in the Pentagon.The Honorable Dr. Mark T. Esper, Secretary of the Army, selected Mark Ritchie to represent Minnesota."I am deeply humbled and honored with this appointment," Ritchie said. "This is a wonderful opportunity to support and grow the relationship between our military and civilian communities throughout Minnesota. In filling this position, I will both continue and intensify my commitment to serve our men and women in uniform.""Mark, thank you for your commitment and willingness to serve as a CASA," Esper said. "With only one percent of our population serving in the military, maintaining community connections has never been more important, and I'm confident you'll keep your fellow Minnesotans informed about the abundance of career opportunities in our Army."Ritchie's leadership experience spans government, nonprofit, education and advocacy organizations. He served as a member on the Minnesota National Guard Strategic Advisory Task Force from 2011 to 2018. The 14-member task force of community leaders, sanctioned by the Minnesota Secretary of State, provided feedback, guidance, and insight to the adjutant general on the guard's long-range strategic issues.In January 2019 he began service as Global Minnesota's president. Global Minnesota is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to advancing international understanding and engagement. From 2014 to 2019 Ritchie served as president and CEO of Minnesota USA Expo 2027, a public-private partnership to host World Expo on health in Minnesota. In this capacity he was recognized as an engaging and committed leader whose global responsibilities required him to collaborate with heads of state, United Nation's committees, scholars, and corporate leaders. From 2007 to 2014 he served as State of Minnesota and Minnesota State Board of Investment secretary of state, with statewide responsibilities for business services and electionsCASAs are a vital part of the Army, promoting good relations between the Army and the public and advising the Secretary about regional issues.Each state, the District of Columbia and the five U.S. territories have one or more CASAs appointed to provide a vital link between the Army and the communities for which they serve. CASAs are usually business or civic leaders who possess a keen interest in the welfare of the Army and their communities.CASAs serve a two-year term without compensation. Terms may be extended to a total of 10 years of service. The secretary may recognize a civilian aide as a CASA Emeritus after 10 years of service with distinguished service.