Here are some of the other notable moments from Tuesday’s Defense Communities National Summit programs.
- “You can’t solve problems if the fence gets in the way,” Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation Director Patrick O’Brien said of his office’s focus supporting infrastructure, resilience and economic development in defense communities.
- “If you want to cut, cut somebody else,” Rep. John Carter (R-Texas) said of people advocating for cutting defense spending. Carter is chair of the Military Construction/VA Appropriations Subcommittee.
- “Many people don’t want to join the military because they think they’ll be damaged. That’s a Washington problem,” said Alex Wagner, assistant secretary of the Air Force for manpower and reserve affairs. “We have to tell our stories through authenticators…. Those aren’t the secretaries. Those are the airmen in our communities who have good experiences. We need your help getting those people talking in high schools and middle schools to talk about what the opportunities actually involved in service mean.”
- “Our housing is falling behind. Our medical care is being hollowed out little by little, and that’s unacceptable,” said Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.), who chairs a special Armed Services subcommittee that will recommend quality of life improvements for a future defense authorization bill. “Most of our services are having a hard time recruiting at the level they need and retaining at the level they need. Quality of life is one of those reasons.”
- Lawmakers should begin looking beyond large weapons systems, said Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.). “That paradigm has shifted now. Every plug, every outlet is now a front line. Until we start thinking about an installation as a combat zone, we’re always going to have vulnerabilities we aren’t closing.”
- “I want you as part of the community to be part of the early warning system” for resilience threats such as extreme weather, power outages and other infrastructure issues, said Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.), ranking member of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee. “You’ve got to be ready to be part of the solution to help those base commanders, who come and go. By the time they know what’s going on, they’re off to the next base. You have the history.”
- “Sometimes one income doesn’t cut it. Service members are government employees after all,” Sharene Brown said of supporting military spouse employment opportunities. Brown is the spouse of Air Force Chief of Staff Charles CQ Brown and received the ADC National Impact Award Tuesday.
ADC photo of Chairman Carter by Will Noonan