SENIOR COURSE (SC 133) Transatlantic Link Field Study: Visits to the Pentagon and Capitol Hill
As part of its Transatlantic Link Field Study, SC 133 visited Washington, D.C. After an interesting tour of the Pentagon and the Department of Defense, Course Members moved to the US Congress side of the Capitol building.
Course Members were privileged that MGEN P. Kennedy, Legislative Assistant to the Commandant of the US Marine Corps, took the floor first and welcomed them to the Capitol facilities. He spoke about the Office of Legislative Affairs and explained how this unique organization works to establish the link between the military and politics. This includes coordinating with all Marine Corps agencies. He gave a military perspective on the business of Congress and the current Congressional environment (taking the 2019 defense budget as an example), explaining its significance for the Armed Forces.
Discussion continued in a panel format, with MGEN Kennedy joined by RADM Cathal O’Connor, J5 Joint Chief of Staff. There were a lot of questions regarding migration challenges on both sides of the Atlantic.
In the afternoon, the NDC delegation moved to the Senate side of the Capitol.
Mr Keleb Redden, Director for Strategy in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, offered an overview of national security strategy (NSS) in a long-term perspective.
The next speaker was Ms Whitney Baird, Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Department of State Bureau of African Affairs. She pointed out the importance of robust partnership with African governments, highlighting such initiatives as support to countering violent extremism in the Sahel. The value of addressing regional problems through regional multinational forces and initiatives was noted.
The 37th Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Robert B. Neller, hosted SC 133 at an evening reception and, as an Ancien (SC 84), underscored the valuable contribution of the NDC to the continuing education of senior Marine Corps officers.