07/21/05 — Smith, Gooden attend security forum

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Smith, Gooden attend security forum

By Turner Walston
Published in News on July 21, 2005 1:46 PM

Two men from Goldsboro met with the future of Air Force leadership this summer.

Henry Smith and Dr. Mike Gooden were nominated by Air Force officials at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base to attend the 52nd Annual National Security Forum at the Air War College in late May.

Located at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala., the Air War College is the senior professional military school for officers. Students are typically high-ranking officers with several years of experience.

"The students spend about 101/2 months studying matters of international diplomacy and foreign policy," Gooden said.

Held annually, the National Security Forum is the culmination of the year's curriculum, he said.

"They invite a group of civilians in to exchange ideas and get feedback from citizens," Gooden said.

Attendees heard lectures on various subjects relating to air power, they said. Topics included the Air Force's future, Homeland Security, religion and conflict, and the future of space.

Following the general lecture, the attendees broke into several small groups for seminar discussions.

"They spend a year discussing these same topics," Smith said of the students. "This week gives them the opportunity to hear from civilians that don't necessarily have that military slant," he said.

"It was a real educational session," Gooden said. "It gave us a little more depth and a little more insight into the issues that are evolving in the world today."

Smith said he learned of an ideological shift in the military.

"There's been a change in the philosophy of sharing intelligence within the military community. Not just among branches, but also between the U.S. military and our allies.

"Traditionally information was distributed on a 'need to know' basis. Now, it's 'need to share.' Maybe that's a lesson from 9-11 or the Iraqi War."

Both men said the Air War College students were willing to hear the civilian perspective.

"There were certainly times when I think they got reactions that they weren't expecting," Smith said. "A lot of them may now understand perspectives or opinions from the civilian community that they would not have understood."

Smith, a lawyer, is chairman of the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce and was nominated by Col. Mike Holmes, commander of the 4th Fighter Wing, to attend the forum.

Gooden was nominated by Col. Paul Sykes, commander of the 916 Air Refueling Wing.