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National Security Forum

Civic leaders and senior military officers discuss leadership, strategy, and national security at the 66th annual event.
July 18, 2019
NSF

From left: Brigadier General Jeremy Sloane, Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson, and Lieutenant General Anthony Cotton share a laugh during the National Security Forum. Wilson delivered the event’s keynote address. Photo: U.S. Air Force/Trey Ward

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“We must also modernize and grow our support squadrons—a fist is nothing without the power of the body behind it.”- Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson

In May, more than 150 hand-selected civic leaders from across the United States traveled to Montgomery, Alabama, for the 66th annual National Security Forum (NSF) at Maxwell Air Force Base. The three-day event included lectures from senior military officers about the Air Force’s current and future objectives and its plans for enhancing national security. NSF was hosted by the Air War College (located at Maxwell) on behalf of Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson.

Wilson, whose last day on the job was May 31, was the keynote speaker on the first day of the forum. She shared her vision for tomorrow’s Air Force, which includes additional operational squadrons. “The Air Force is too small for what our nation demands,” she said. “We have 312 operational squadrons, which are the clenched fist of American air and space power. But we need 386 to meet the requirements of the National Defense Strategy. We must also modernize and grow our support squadrons—a fist is nothing without the power of the body behind it.”

On the last day of the forum, Air Force Chief of Staff General David Goldfein delivered the capstone address. He emphasized that civilians can help retain members of the military by advocating for things like better schools around military installations or more seamless procedures for transitioning a spouse into the job market at a new military post.

Better retention means improved military readiness during times of conflict, Goldfein said. “Improving lethality, readiness, and strengthening our team can come only with the speed and innovation gained by the expertise and different perspectives of our engaged civic leaders.”


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Air Force Chief of Staff General David Goldfein.


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Participants in the 66th annual National Security Forum at Maxwell Air Force Base.