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MACEDC Board Members Attend SECAF National Security Forum at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, AL

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MACEDC Board Members Attend SECAF National Security Forum at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, AL

Posted: May 24 2024
MACEDC Board Members Attend SECAF National Security Forum at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, AL

Cassidy Hjelmstad, Board Chair and Ryan Ackerman, Chair-Elect of the Minot Area Chamber EDC (MACEDC) board of directors were selected to attend The Secretary of the Air Force’s National Security Forum, hosted by Air University’s Air War College in early May.  

Participants must be nominated by Air Force Headquarters or Wing leadership, AWC students or faculty, or senior government officials for this engaging event that connects senior military leadership with selected civilian professionals to openly discuss past and present national security challenges. Attendees come from a wide range of backgrounds, such as corporate executives, clergy, community volunteers, educators, financial analysts, and many others. Participants are given the opportunity to integrate with over 215 Air War College students who represent the finest military and civilian leaders serving in America’s Armed Forces, as well as a select group of senior military officers from 48 partner nations. 

“Engaging with high-level experts on the global competitors and adversaries of the United States was incredibly insightful. I emerged from this experience with a deeper appreciation for the global importance and significance of the missions of the Minot Air Force Base. The Airmen of the Minot Air Force Base are a stabilizing deterrent force in the world, and it’s obvious that the world recognizes that,” said Ryan Ackerman, MACEDC Chair-Elect. 

Each year has a different theme, with a constant focus on establishing an environment for open engagements on the diplomatic, economic, informational, cultural, and military instruments of national power and how each benefits a more stable and prosperous world order. This year marked the 70th annual forum, and it aimed to address the strategic concerns generated by both China and Russia and the Great Power Competition.  

It was an educational and eye-opening experience, engaging with senior U.S. and international military officers as well as highly experienced government civilians during seminars, lectures, and social events; discussing and challenging views of senior military and civilian leaders and AWC faculty and students; and interacting with tomorrow’s senior military leaders. The Honorable Frank Kendall, Secretary of the Air Force; General David W. Allvin, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, and Lt General DeAnna M. Burt, Deputy Chief of Space Operations for Operations, Cyber, and Nuclear United States Space Force were all presenters, establishing an environment for frank discussions and broadening perspectives on national and international topics of interest.  

"It was my honor to participate in the National Security Forum. Hearing the state of our nation, directly from some of the most accomplished leaders in US military, enhanced my understanding of how national decisions impact our local community," said Cassidy Hjelmstad, MACEDC Board Chair. "Prior to attending, Task Force 21 hosted the Nuclear Triad Symposium in Minot, providing a solid baseline for the Forum. The connections made, and information learned, create further understanding as to how we can support our men and women who serve Minot Air Force Base and the nuclear mission." 

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