On Tuesday, the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) hosted U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla., and more than 120 veterans from across Florida and the country for a virtual town hall on U.S. global leadership and the future of national security.
Waltz emphasized that diplomacy and development are critical components of “smart power” and without them, the United States would be less secure in the face of growing global threats.
“In a world filled with instability, threats to America’s national security are constantly changing — whether they are rising authoritarian regimes in China, Russia, and Iran or evolving terrorist groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda,” said Waltz. “Moving forward, strong civilian tools of diplomacy must be fully resourced to meet complex global challenges alongside our military strength. Embracing a smart power approach not only protects America’s interests and democratic ideals but helps to support the men and women in our armed forces and keep them out of harm’s way.”
Follow-up discussions with Waltz and veterans from across the country highlighted a general consensus among veterans on the importance of investments in U.S. diplomacy and development in advancing our country’s national security.
“Over 1.5 million veterans call Florida home, and we’re honored that a number of them could join today’s conversation with Congressman Waltz,” said Sean Sorbie, the director of veterans outreach for USGLC. “As an Army veteran himself and the first Green Beret in Congress, he knows firsthand that U.S. investments in diplomacy and development support our security interests by strengthening alliances and creating goodwill. They also help build relationships and open new markets overseas that provide jobs and prosperity for Americans around the country — including here in Florida, where over 2.5 million jobs are supported by international trade and exports bring in $56 million to the economy each year.”
Most of the participants are active members of the USGLC’s Veterans for Smart Power, a strong and growing network of more than 30,000 veterans who understand the importance of U.S. diplomacy and development, alongside defense, to help keep our country strong and safe.
Along with this nationwide network of veterans is the USGLC’s National Security Advisory Council, which is led by Admiral James Stavridis and General Anthony Zinni and includes over 200 retired three- and four-star generals and admirals who are united behind advancing America’s national security by strengthening all the tools of national security — diplomacy and development, together with defense.