NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Thomas Skancke, chief executive officer and president of the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance attended the 2014 National Security Forum held at Maxwell Air Force Base May 6 through 8.
According to the NSF factsheet, these conferences, hosted by the Air War College, have helped bridge the gap between influential civic leaders and senior military officers to discuss current and future topics. Topics discussed include strategic leadership, national security and decision making as well as warfighting, and global security. National Security Forums have been responsible for getting the two groups together since 1954.
“These are great events that bolster connections between civilians and the military [to] protect us all,” said Skancke. “Too often, in our modern society, we think of the military as an entity separate and apart from society instead of realizing the military is an integral part of our nation. These kinds of events also allow for men and women from the business community to gain a better understanding of national defense and national-defense industries.”
Not only has Skancke spent the last 25 years as the CEO and president of his own company, but he is also recognized as one of the top transportation strategists in the United States as stated in his biography on the LVGEA website.
After being invited by Maj. Gen. Brian Bishop, AWC Commandant and Commander of the Carl A. Spaatz Center for Officer Education at Maxwell AFB, Skancke’s name was submitted to be a guest at the forum by 99th Air Base Wing commander Col. Barry Cornish to represent Nevada.
During the forum, top Air Force officials such as Deborah Lee James, Secretary of the Air Force, Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, and Bishop provided keystone and capstone addresses, as well as expressing the importance of our Air Force service members to national and international security.
“In speech after speech, I heard top Air Force leaders talk about the work our [Air Force] servicemen and women are doing in Nevada, and specifically, in the Las Vegas region at Creech and Nellis AFBs” Skancke said. “We have an incredible asset in our community, and I was glad to see national Air Force leaders recognize the important role Southern Nevada plays in our air defense infrastructure.”
Skancke also had the opportunity to converse about his business background and the importance of integrating business with military communities to gain perspective, knowledge and networking capabilities.
“The business community is pretty much disconnected from our military,” Skancke said. “The business community needs to be more involved with their local installations. The only time the business community tends to get involved is when it is too late and a possible [installation closure] is imminent.”
Skancke said if the opportunity presented itself again, he would attend the forum a second time.
“This was an incredible week of learning and exchanging thoughts and ideas,” Skancke said. “The future of our military will be led by some amazingly smart, thoughtful servicemen and women. These future leaders possess the necessary skill set to take our military in a new direction.”
As more civic leaders attend the NSF, military members and civilians can continue to build connections with each other and foster in open communication on topics concerning leadership, strategy and national security.