May 15 – 16, 2024 | Sacramento, CA

Resilient California

California’s complex operating environment requires leadership, innovation and resilience to thrive. This year’s Defense Leadership Summit theme “Resilient California” will focus on challenges and solutions throughout the state and across the defense sector in the areas of Energy and Infrastructure, Natural Disasters and Climate Change, and Economy and Workforce. Subject matter experts will engage collaboratively and interact with the attendees on a range of topics related to these areas as well as traditional Summit subject areas such as Grant Funding Opportunities and Family and Quality of Life Initiatives.

This unique annual event also brings together elected officials and senior state and federal agency personnel to provide perspective and vision on today’s and tomorrow’s challenges and opportunities. Whether you’re a military, community or industry leader the Summit offers an outstanding opportunity to network, engage and learn along with your peers across the Defense sector in the Golden State.

featured speakers

Paul Farnan

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Installations, Energy & Environment)

Dee Dee Myers

Director, Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz)

Le-Quyen Nguyen

Deputy Secretary for Energy, California Natural Resources Agency

Tony Perez

Co-founder and Managing Partner, Selas Ventures

Besa Pinchotti

Chief Executive Officer, National Military Family Association

Matt Shortal

Former TOPGUN pilot, Operating Partner/CoS Andreesen Horowitz

Denzil Wessels

CEO, Dymium


Wednesday, May 15

8:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Governor’s Military Council Q2 Public Meeting

2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Registration Open

3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
CA/DoD Executive Synch

6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Opening Reception

Take advantage of this unique opportunity to network and engage with defense stakeholders from across the state in a relaxed environment.

Thursday, May 16

7:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Registration Open

7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m.

Breakfast Buffet

8:00 a.m. – 8:50 a.m.

Welcome/Opening Session

8:50 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Networking Break

9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

General Session 1—Environmental, Disaster and Infrastructure Resilience

Panel 1: Emergency Response

  • BG Robert Paoletti, Director, Joint Staff, California Military Department
  • Tom Ducker, Team Lead, Critical Infrastructure Protection Division, California Offices of Emergency Services
  • COL Charles McPhail, Defense Coordinating Officer, FEMA Region IX
  • Joe Dingman, Executive Director, Travis Air Force Base

Panel 2: Infrastructure Resilience

  • Le-Quyen Nguyen, Deputy Secretary for Energy, California Natural Resources Agency
  • Paul Farnan, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary (Installations, Energy and Environment)
  • Tom Ducker, Team Lead, Critical Infrastructure Protection Division, California Offices of Emergency Services
  • David Gassaway, City Manager, Fairfield, CA

10:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.

Networking Break

10:45 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.

General Session 2—Economic Resilience and Innovation


  • Tony Perez, Co-founder and Managing Partner, Selas Ventures


  • Denzil Wessels, Founder and CEO, Dymium
  • Dee Dee Meyers, Director, Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz)
  • Mark Lennon, Strategic Engagement, Defense Innovation Unit | Managing Director, Public Sector Strategy & Innovation, Accenture

11:50 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Networking Break

12:00 p.m. – 1:40 p.m.

Lunch Session

American Dynamism Initiative


  • Matt Shortal, former TOPGUN pilot, Operating Partner and Chief of Staff, Andreessen Horowitz

California Military Leader Roundtable


  • LTG (Ret.) Edward Hanlon, United States Marine Corp


  • Maj. Gen. Matthew Beevers, The Adjutant General, California Military Department
  • Maj. Gen. Curtis Taylor, Commanding General, National Training Center and Fort Irwin
  • Brig. Gen. Derek Salmi, Commander, 60th Air Mobility Wing, Travis Air Force Base
  • Brig. Gen. Jason Woodworth, Commanding General, Marine Corps Installations West-Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, California
  • Capt. Dwight “Woody” Clemons, Chief of Staff, Navy Region Southwest
  • Col. Mark Shoemaker, Commander, Space Launch Delta 30, Vandenberg Space Force Base
  • Capt. Tim Lavier, Chief of Staff, Eleventh Coast Guard District

1:40 p.m. – 1:50 p.m.

Networking Break

1:50 p.m. – 3:20 p.m.

General Session 3—Quality of Life


  • Besa Pinchotti, Chief Executive Officer, National Military Family Association

Panel 1: Childcare, Licensure, Education

  • Kelli Mae Douglas, Defense State Liaison Officer, Department of Defense
  • Jesse Najera, Superintendent, Silver Valley School District
  • Jackie Wong, Executive Director, First Five California
  • Kim Kirchmeyer, Director, California Department of Consumer Affairs

Panel 2: Healthcare

  • RADM Keith Hash, Commander, Naval Air Warfare Center, China Lake
  • Hovik Khosrovian, Program Director, State Office of Rural Health, California Department of Healthcare Access
  • Dan Clark, Commanding Officer, Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command Twentynine Palms

3:20 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Networking Break

3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Breakout Sessions

Topic A: Grant Programs (MIR, DCIP, Defense Manufacturing, DoD Schools, Diversity, Cadence and Cascade)


  • Sandy Person, California Defense Communities Alliance


  • Louis Littleton III, Western Region Director, Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation
  • Eileen Sanchez, CASCADE Program Manager, California Governor in the Office of Planning and Research
  • Bob Rule, Assistant Director of Partnerships, Readiness and Environmental Protection Office (REPI)
  • Jenelle Osborne, Mayor, Lompoc, CA

Topic B: Workforce and Recruiting


  • Robert Meyer, Director of Economic Development, Employment Training Panel


  • Kaina Pereira, Executive Director, California Workforce Development Board, California Labor & Workforce Development Agency
  • Thomas E. Stevens, Executive Director, Space Launch Delta 30, Vandenberg Space Force Base
  • Dustin DeBrum, Operations Director, California Cybersecurity Institute, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
  • Jose Anaya, Dean of Community Advancement, El Camino College
  • Lucas Thoma, Program Protection Branch Chief, Space Systems Command, United States Space Force

4:30 p.m.

End of Summit


DOD / Federal
Governor’s Military Council / State Employee


Sponsoring the 2024 California Defense Leadership Summit is an excellent way to promote your brand with key leaders at the community, state and national levels. Sponsorships include complimentary registrations, the opportunity to be involved in one of our sessions and more.

For more information, please contact Kelsey Judd.

Event Location

Sheraton Grand Sacramento
1230 J St, Sacramento, CA 95814

The hotel reservation deadline has passed.

Sheraton Grand Sacramento

Sponsored By