Last week, more than 800 individuals gathered in Washington, D.C. to take part in the Association of Defense Communities (ADC) National Summit. Lori Stinson, VP for Military Affairs and Leadership Development, joined a large contingent of ADC members from San Antonio and throughout the United States, comprised of Active Duty Military, Guard, and Reserve Leaders, as well as private industry and community leaders who work with military partners and missions.
One of the most important aspects of the summit is the emphasis on strengthening the foundation that supports our nation’s military readiness, supporting the defense infrastructure, and sustaining the force to ensure we remain on the cutting edge. This is accomplished through bringing together partners from the military, defense communities, state representatives, and private sector members. Another crucial piece is the accessibility to defense experts and decision makers in providing insight into the current status of the force, as well as the future growth and resiliency of the missions and our service members from all branches.
ADC launched a new program at this year’s summit with a focus on the ideas and issues that are key to strengthening the foundation of readiness for our military and communities. The goal was to help members understand the big issues that impact our military and translate that for our community and installations. Topics went beyond roads and buildings and included supporting families, schools, housing, employment, and social services.
Second Lady of the United States Karen Pence provided a keynote for a panel moderated by Mike Kelly, USAA’s Assistant Vice President of Military Affairs and former Chamber Military Affairs Council Chair, which discussed ideas to redefine support of our Military Spouses and families. Panelists included Lt. Gen Gwen Bingham, Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management Command; Kathleen Jabs, Deputy Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs; Liz O’Brien, Senior Director, Hiring our Heroes, US Chamber Foundation; and Maria Mendez Reed, 2019 Armed Forces Insurance Army Spouse of the Year.“Military spouses are the backbone of our military families,” Second Lady Karen Pence said. “They keep the home running smoothly while also being engaged in the outside community. They deserve meaningful opportunities to not only work but to have a career which sustains them beyond one duty location.”
During the Summit, USAA recognized the five new Great American Defense Communities: Bay County, Florida; Clovis, New Mexico; Greater Columbia Region, South Carolina; Middle Georgia, Georgia; and North Country-Fort Drum, New York. San Antonio was recognized for the same award in 2017.
Along with many other breakout sessions, larger general sessions included:
◾ Future of DOD Resilience Policy
◾ Tomorrow’s Warriors, Today: The Evolution of Installations and Communities to Support the Next Generation of Service Members
◾ The State of Military Housing: How We Can Provide Great Housing for Our Entire Military
◾ Global Threats, Local Impacts: How Emerging Threats Are Changing Our Military’s Focus
◾ The Next Basing Decision: How Evolving Missions and New Weapon Systems Will Impact Installations
◾ Are We Ready? The State of Our Defense Readiness
◾ Cyber Warfare: How Are We Preparing for this New Battleground
◾ America’s Military Divide: The Impact of Military-Civilian Divide and Great Ideas to Bridge It
We are excited to announce that San Antonio will be home to their 2020 Installation Innovation Forum from February 10-12, 2020.
For more information on the Association of Defense Communities Summit and to find out more about the distinguished guests and visitors, visit: www.adcsummit.org.