Category Archives: Military

Save the Date for These Exciting Upcoming Forums….

The Nevada Terawatt Facility

Training Students in the Field of High-Energy-Density Science


Dr. Aaron Covington

The Ramada, Tuesday, July 18, 2017, 9:00 a.m.

The Nevada Terawatt Facility (NTF) performs high quality research in the area of high-energy-density (HED) physics, the study of matter under extreme conditions of temperature and density. It is one of the Energy Department’s National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Science Centers as part of the nuclear stockpile stewardship programs.

Located at the former Stead AFB, the NTF was established by UNR in 2000. The primary focus of the NTF is to conduct research that focuses on the study and behavior of matter subject to conditions of extreme temperature and density. This rapidly developing field explores the “4th state of matter”, called plasma, under conditions similar to those occurring in the interiors of stars, nuclear fusion reactors, and lightning bolts. Dr. Covington will discuss the science behind the work of the NTF, as well as the very advanced pulsed-power generator and Leopard Laser that are two of the highly specialized tools needed to conduct these experiments.

Dr. Aaron Covington is the Director of the Terawatt Facility and is a professor in the Department of Physics at UNR.


The USS Zumwalt

The Navy’s Stealth Guided Missile Destroyer


Captain Scott Tait

The Ramada, Friday, August 18, 2017, 9:00 a.m.

The Guided Missile Destroyer, the USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000), was conceived more than 20 years ago as a land attack ship, primarily to replace the Iowa-class battleships in supporting amphibious landings. A key part of its design charter included innovation in propulsion, weapons, signatures and manning. The program to design and build these ships has been turbulent, but the result is a warship with the most modern technologies integrated in a single hull since HMS Dreadnought went to sea in 1906!

The USS Zumwalt is the first of this new class of warships. Although originally designed with a primary focus on land attack, she is a multi-mission combatant with potent offensive capabilities against air, surface, subsurface and land targets. The Zumwalt will bring significant advantages in the Navy’s traditional missions of sea control and power projection.

Captain Scott Tait will discuss USS Zumwalt, the benefits her innovations are bringing to our Navy, and the way forward for these already-iconic warships. Tait is the Commanding Officer of the USS Zumwalt. His sea tours have included operations in the western and southern Pacific, Middle East, and Europe, as well as shore commands with the US European Command, the Pacific Fleet staff, and the Joint Staff (J5, Asia). He holds Masters degrees from Stanford University and from the US Naval War College.

No need to RSVP now– just please mark your calendars!


The Presentation From Our August 22nd Meeting

PowerPoint Presentation available here on

“The Inside Story of

Operation Desert Storm”

Lt. General Marty Brandtner gave a very detailed presentation on the sequence of events, planning phases, decision processes, issues, operational and logistics challenges, and the concept of operations and execution of the offensive air and ground campaign plans for Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm (1990-91).

The slides were very thorough and complex—and somewhat hard to read on our AV system—so we are pleased to provide the entire PowerPoint here. For those who were unable to attend, it was a masterful overview of the complexities involved in planning and executing the campaign to expel Saddam Hussein from Kuwait. For those who were there, here is an opportunity to look at the planning slides in more depth.

I am reminded that the VuGraphs Gen Brandtner used in the discussion were the actual ones he and GEN Colin Powell, then Chairman of the JCS, used in briefing the planning and execution to senior officers and to the National Command Authority. Of course, they were highly classified at the time!

“Desert Storm” was a combination of punishing air strikes and finally a ground invasion that drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait. Although I was vaguely familiar with the operation myself, I must confess that I tended to look back on it with a sense that Saddam invaded, we thought about it, and kinda moved some troops over there and the Iraqis retreated.

How erroneous that viewpoint is. GEN Brandtner laid out the full strength of the Iraqi forces—540,000 troops, including many Revolutionary Guards divisions; Iraq enjoying interior lines of communication (LOCs), possessing advanced tanks, fighter aircraft and air defense capabilities, and hardened by eight years of conflict with Iran. In contrast, the US—and its allies—had to form an effective multi-national coalition, transport enormous numbers of troops and supplies to the war zone, provide replenishment on a daily basis for fighting forces 7,000 miles away, and maintain domestic support for the war. Not easy, as these slides will show.

I was reminded also, during the presentation, of the old military axiom, “Amateurs talk strategy; professionals talk logistics”!

For those who were there, a chance to see the slides in more depth and clarity; for those who were unable to attend, a chance to get an in depth understanding of the complexities of that operation.


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Click here (file size 32MB):



Sexual Assault and the Military

Getting After Sexual Assault the Right Way 

What the military can learn from West Point.


By Jeanne Hull Godfroy

Sexual assault in the military has received unprecedented levels of attention since the release of the “Invisible War” last year.  Under pressure from the country’s leadership and public, military and civilian leaders have since devoted substantial time and energy analyzing the problem and developing educational programs and punitive measures to prevent and deter the behavior.  Though sexual assault and battery are indeed deplorable, too much emphasis and energy spent on finding effective measures of countering the worst cases reduces the amount of time and effort commanders can spend developing solutions to the wider problem of sexual harassment and misconduct.  Overemphasis on harsh penalties across the spectrum of offenses also limits the means commanders have to adjudicate the less serious cases, to the detriment of the entire military institution. 

When I was the Cadet Deputy Brigade Commander at West Point in 1999 (the number two leadership position among 4000 cadets), my duties included working with the varsity athletic team captains.  One day the captain of the women’s soccer team came to me with a complaint that the men’s hockey team was throwing food at the women on the soccer team in the cadet dining facility.  Despite my efforts to work with the hockey team leadership to resolve the issue, the food-throwing and verbal harassment continued.  I subsequently recommended that the men’s hockey team tables be closed for the remainder of the academic year.  The West Point leadership, after conferring with the staff at the dining facility and the hockey team coaches, closed the hockey team tables.  For the next four or five months until graduation, I was electronically harassed and vilified behind my back from a number of male cadets who were either on the hockey team or knew of the incident.  Unspecified cadets put stink bombs in my room, stole my laundry bag, and even had two Army Majors on the West Point staff informally counsel me.  With indulgent smiles and the “boys will be boys” cliché, these officers expressed genuine concern for how my actions on this matter would alienate me from my peers and adversely affect my career as an officer.  The debacle made my last semester at the academy pretty miserable, even with wide support from my female peers and some of the male cadets I worked with.  

Fast forward ten years to when I returned to the Academy as an academic instructor.  One of my male students approached me after class and surprised me by asking me to be his mentor for the Cadet Respect program.  The cadet in question had used a derogatory term for a female cadet towards one of his female peers, and she reported the incident to her chain of command.  Those cadets and officers she spoke to took that report very seriously.  In addition to receiving a severe punishment for the offense under the Cadet Disciplinary Code, the male cadet’s graduation was made contingent on the successful completion of an intense mentorship program involving his tactical officer and an outside field grade officer.  The mentorship program required him to maintain a journal containing the lessons he was learning in the course of the program and meet with me on a regular basis to discuss the journal entries and his progress.  I was amazed at the transformation this cadet underwent over four months of this Cadet Respect program – he transitioned from blaming the female cadet for his actions to accepting responsibility for his own behavior.  He also identified some of the factors that led him to make the derogatory comment in the first place, which included alcohol abuse and a circle of friends that promoted immature, puerile behavior towards female cadets and women more generally.  Over the course of the mentorship program, the cadet received treatment for alcohol abuse, distanced himself from that circle of friends, and, on his own initiative, met with the woman he insulted to apologize and discuss his transformation.  All of us on his Cadet Respect mentorship team recommended that he graduate on time, and he did – he remains in the Army as a junior leader today, and one better prepared to recognize, treat, and prevent sexual assault and harassment in his unit.

Though these episodes are hardly the stuff of the “Invisible War,” they illustrate how an institution can transition from a culture averse to countering sexual harassment to a more constructive approach.  After my encounter as a cadet, I was reluctant to come forward about incidents of harassment I experienced or observed, preferring to address those problems myself or through informal channels.  What I did not realize at the time is that sexual harassment—even minor incidents—can be indicators of greater cultural and command climate problems which, if untreated, ultimately lead to more serious incidents of sexual harassment and sexual assault.  From my experience mentoring the male cadet, I learned that early identification and appropriate response to lesser incidents of sexual harassment can positively impact attitudes and behaviors of the military’s junior leaders and eventually initiate the “cultural change” our nation’s military and civilian leaders are presently clamoring for.

I also learned that overly harsh punishments can have the opposite intended effect and can be detrimental to the institution as a whole.  Severe responses to relatively minor incidents of sexual harassment tend to leave Soldiers with three impressions: 1) that the target of the harassment was more at fault than the offender, 2) that the punishment did not fit the crime and, thus, 3) that reporting sexual harassment prematurely ends careers of otherwise potentially promising young leaders – leaders who could have learned better lessons from the experience and, in doing so, benefited themselves and the greater institution.  None of these outcomes is useful to a professional military that invests considerable time and money training, educating and developing impressionable young men and women to be its future leaders.

I am concerned about the tone and perspective of the current discussion and debate on sexual assault in the military.  To begin with, the increase in the number of reported incidents of sexual assault is a positive indicator as well as a negative one.  On the positive side, the increase indicates that the intense education and training the military has instituted on the topic over the last 12-15 months is working – Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines have a better understanding of how to recognize and report incidents of sexual harassment and assault.  The increase in numbers is also a sign that members of the military feel much more comfortable reporting the incidents with less fear of retribution.  Whether those reporting the incidents believe their concerns will be addressed is a separate issue, and not one currently addressed by the statistics thrown about in the public realm.

Secondly, I am concerned that undue focus on sexual assault adjudication only addresses the end state of the larger challenge military leaders face.  The public debate centers on prosecution for the most severe cases of sexual assault—those involving battery and rape.  It does not address how to better approach the greater spectrum of sexual misconduct.  This spectrum of offenses ranges from sexual harassment to fraternization and improper relationships to inappropriate touching –all behaviors that are potential forerunners to sexual assault and, like sexual assault, are detrimental to unit cohesion and mission readiness.  Excessive focus on the most serious cases skews public perception and detracts from the military’s ability to provide young leaders with tools—like the intensive mentorship program I participated in at West Point—to better identify and see to these lesser infractions. 

I applaud West Point’s response to the incidents of sexual harassment instituted by men on their varsity rugby team this spring.  The Academy’s reaction to a report of sexual harassment is consistent with what I observed three years ago, not a knee-jerk overreaction to a hot-button issue.  Moreover, the penalties imposed were harsh enough to send a message, specifically tailored to address the behavior and attitudes of each individual young leader, and not so severe as to detract from the real issues at hand.  I suspect that a good portion of the senior cadets on the rugby team who just graduated have learned a valuable lesson and will be more capable of identifying sexual harassment and developing appropriate responses to the problem as junior leaders.  Both the cadets and the Army will benefit from the experience in the long run. 

The Army and the military can learn a lot from West Point about instituting cultural change.  Military leaders should focus on developing and implementing better mechanisms for junior leaders and commanders to use to identify and correct minor infractions of sexual harassment, misconduct and assault.  These tools should be punitive, but afford select perpetrators— primarily junior officers and enlisted personnel—the opportunity to learn and recover from these incidents so they can be better military leaders in the future.   Those that fail to respond to mentorship or similar programs can then be separated from the service well before they commit any serious criminal behavior.  

So, while I believe successful adjudication for sexual assaults is important, the military’s approach to sexual harassment and other forms of sexual misconduct is even more critical to the institution’s long-term success.  The true test of any programs designed to counter these behaviors will occur as women are incorporated into specialties that were previously only open to men.  If commanders at all levels are not properly equipped to recognize and manage the inevitable minor incidents of sexual harassment and misconduct that will occur with the integration of women in these units, they will only amplify a persistent problem in American military culture.


Jeanne (Hull) Godfroy is a graduate of McQueen High School in Reno, NV, the United States Military Academy at West Point (’00) and the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University (M.P.A. ’07).  She spent over 12 years as an active duty military intelligence officer in the U.S. Army and served tours in Bosnia, Iraq and the Republic of Korea.  Jeanne is currently an International Affairs Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the U.S. Army Reserve.  Her research interests include street gangs and Drug Trafficking Organizations, counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, and international relations.


Summary of the May 30 Air National Guard Presentation

Key Points in the Presentation on

The Air National Guard:

Affordable Defense in an Era of Austerity 


COL Jeff Burkett and LTC Tony Machabee

The Nevada Air National Guard “High Rollers” have been deployed in support of the War on Terror for more than 10 years.  Over the last decade, the High Rollers have shifted from a “strategic reserve” to an “operational reserve” as the Air National Guard’s role has grown within the Department of Defense.  The value proposition the National Guard offers to the Department of Defense and the taxpayer may become an attractive solution as we enter a period of reduced defense spending.

Col Jeffery Burkett, the 152d Airlift Wing Commander, briefed the NSF on the changing role of the Nevada Air National Guard over the past decade as well as future capabilities. Col Burkett discussed the relationship between USNORTHCOM and the National Guard, including some of the complexities between Title 10 and Title 32 duty status. Col Burkett will highlighted the mission of the 152d Airlift Wing to include the C-130 Airlift Squadron, the Intelligence Squadron, and the CBRN Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP).

Here is a 2-page summary of many of the key points made by COL Burkett in that presentation:   NGStrengths5x823May2013





Final reminder! October 3rd Meeting

*Seating will be limited, please be sure to RSVP.*

The National Security Forum presents



and Prof. Neal Ferguson

The Ramada, Wednesday, October 3, 9 am

GEN MacArthur will personally recount some of the highlights of his astounding career, from his days as First Captain at West Point to his Command of UN Forces in Korea. “The General” will reflect on his command of the famed 42nd (“Rainbow”) Division in WWI, his appointment as Supreme Commander of the Southwest Pacific in WWII and later as Supreme Commander of Allied Powers, when he accepted the formal surrender of Japan on the USS Missouri. The General will be direct in his criticism of President Truman after MacArthur was appointed Commander of UN Forces during the Korean War, the setbacks that led to North Korea driving the Allies to a small perimeter at Pusan, and the surprise and daring Inchon landing. He will speak with emotion about his removal from that command by Truman and his advice to use atomic weapons against North Korea and Chinese installations

This year is the 50th anniversary of the General’s famous “Duty, Honor, Country”  address at West Point, which he will discuss along with his address to Congress, where he lamented that “Old Soldiers Never Die….They Just Fade Away”.

Prof. Neal Ferguson will be GEN MacArthur throughout this presentation and during the Q&A session, but will revert to his historian role later to assess MacArthur in retrospect and answer questions regarding his own views on the major aspects of MacArthur’s controversial career.

Neal Ferguson is a professor at UNR, where he directs the Core Humanities program and teaches courses on British History, World War II, and the nexus of Warfare and Modern Society.

Please join us for what will be a very interesting discussion. A full breakfast will be served ($15 at the door; $10 for students), so recommend you arrive by 8:30 to enjoy some coffee and conversation.

Please RSVP on our website by clicking here or you may RSVP by phone (775) 746-3222 or email