Military and civilian leaders from across the Nation, including West Point and several regional organizations, completed a Leadership Symposium inside the Haig Room Aug. 31 at West Point.
The symposium was presented by the U.S. Military Academy and hosted by Brig. Gen. Shane Reeves, the Dean of the Academic Board, to foster honest discussions on the fundamentals of civil-military relationships, among other topics.
This theme helped drive the conversation to better understand how to navigate today’s civil-military relations while reaffirming civilian control over the military.
“We must have candid and deep discussions, which will inevitably shape our opinions so we can grow,ˮ Reeves said. “We are here today because of our collective passion for this institution, the U.S. Army, our military and our Nation.ˮ
Reeves explained that he was excited by the panelists’ vast array of viewpoints and experiences here.
“I am happy to be here because of the importance of civil-military relations,ˮ Reeves said. “Having a better understanding of that environmental space is critical for us to do our jobs at the U.S. Military Academy in developing and inspiring these cadets.ˮ
Other topics included exploring the difference between partisan and political activity, what drives the public’s confidence in the military, and how leadership adequately prepare cadets to steward the profession as company-grade officers and understand the roles and responsibilities of more senior officers.
Reeves pointed out how proud he was to see this group of engaging leaders who wanted to share discourse on these topics.
“We have military leaders, we have academics and we have civilian policymakers here to discuss important topics,ˮ Reeves said. “We’re lucky to have such a diverse panel of experts here today.ˮ
He also expressed, “I don't think I could ask for a more knowledgeable, passionate, experienced group of scholars to help lead and guide my senior academic leaders in this space.ˮ
Maj. Renee Sanjuan, the associate dean for Policy and Communications, said that planning this event was no small task.
“Our team has been working very hard to pull this event together,ˮ Sanjuan said. “We worked tirelessly to make this happen, and I think this was a great event with great discussions.ˮ
The conversations continued throughout the day, and by the end, it was apparent that much was accomplished.
“I want to thank you all for joining us today,ˮ Reeves said. “All I ask is that as you return to your various organizations, universities and other networks in positions of influence, help other groups better understand these issues.ˮ
He added, “Share your knowledge and experience from today to help people understand that West Point is facing (these issues) head-on, and share how the military is very, very engaged in this space.
“I hope this symposium provided a way forward for civil-military relations and perhaps to lead the world through these challenging discussions,ˮ Reeves concluded.