State Dept. and AWC enhance partnership|
by Donovan Jackson
Air University Public Affairs
11/21/2012 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Helping to bridge the gap between military and civilian agencies, the Air War College held its annual U.S. State Department Days Nov. 12-14.
Sixteen visiting personnel from the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development met with AWC students, sharing their experiences, knowledge and ideas on military issues.
The purpose of the annual event is for civilian and military agencies to educate each other on their core capabilities and to collaborate on future issues of interagency cooperation and concern. The goal of this session is to have all present work on better "whole of government" approaches to U.S. security problems.
"This program is important because it helps us better understand each other and what it is that we do," said Jed Meline, USAID foreign service officer.
At the Air War College, guests attended seminars and participated in discussion with students on topics ranging from diplomatic instruments of national power to information as an instrument of power.
Additionally, guests also were given tours of Montgomery's historical Civil War and civil rights landmarks, including the Rosa Parks Museum.
"The conversations and debates assist everyone with a better understanding of U.S. government policies around the world," said Meline.
Lt. Col. Keith Mueller, an AWC student, said the program gave him a chance to interact with State Department counterparts.
"I gained a better understanding of State Department's point of view," said Mueller. "The information given to me and fellow students will help us better interact with them during a mission environment."
Cooperation and communication amongst civilian and military organizations are vital for the strength and improvement of the government, according to Valerie Fowler, deputy assistant secretary for International Media Engagement.
"I'm a firm believer in cooperation and communication," she said. "In my experience, it is not uncommon for the Air Force to have limited experience with State Department and USAID counterparts. I am very thankful that the AWC gives us the opportunity to enhance the civilian-military dialogue within the U.S. interagency."
The annual event is an important educational opportunity for AWC students.
"For the AWC to continue molding future leaders, events like State Department Days are imperative," said Robert Blau, Air University's senior State Department adviser. "It is a learning experience for both the guests and students of the AWC."