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"Morning Conversation" with Ohio State Representative Fred Strahorn; The Strategic Future of the U.S. Army

On Monday, March 21st, we went to the Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) for a "Morning Conversation" with Ohio State Representative Fred Strahorn (Democrat-District 39 in Dayton) who is the Minority House Leader.

IMG_9276We had met Rep. Strahorn two weeks ago in Lakewood at a fundraiser for Ohio State Rep. Nickie Antonio and saw him again one week ago at the Ohio Democratic Party Dinner in Columbus. Also attending the Ohio Democratic Party Dinner was Ms. Deborah Neale from Neale and Associates so the three of us had a good time talking about it.

During the program itself, Rep. Strahorn was interviewed by Mr. Marty McGann, Senior Vice President of Government Advocacy. Rep. Strahorn talked about his background and how he came to be in the position that he holds at this time. He emphasized the need to address such issues as infrastructure, college tuition, and restoration of the renewable energy standard. In this age of hyper-partisanship, it was good to hear him praise Ohio State Rep. Cliff Rosenberger, the Speaker of the Legislature, for conducting things in such a way that even though the debating of issues is certainly heated, it seldom descends into personal insults and the my-way-or-no-way attitude that we are sadly seeing at the federal level of government.

Later on, everyone was welcome to ask questions. At this time, Rep. Strahorn talked some more about education and the need to address all phases of it from preschool all of the way through college or technical school. He talked about how international students generally excel at math, physics, and science because it is strongly emphasized in their home countries. He believed that they come to the United States to learn to think with more creativity.

On the international front, we asked Rep. Strahorn if there was anything coming up concerning immigrants. He told us that he didn't see anything on the horizon but recalled the debate over whether law enforcement officials have the right to stop drivers and question them on their immigration status.

We asked him about the controversial resolution passed by the legislature last November that urged President Obama to put a stop to the settlement of Syrian refugees in Ohio as well as the United States. Rep. Strahorn told us that he was very much opposed to it and encouraged to look up his response to it online. So we did some research and found it on the Minority Caucus Blog posted on November 17, 2015.

"Sometimes tragedy brings out the best in people, sometimes it brings out the worst. We are a great nation because of our principles," said Rep. Strahorn, " When you let someone scare you so much that you turn your back on your principles, you are letting terrorists win. The American people expect us to be much braver than this resolution demonstrates."

We like what he said.

On Monday night we went to the Union Club for a presentation titled "The Strategic Future of the U.S. Army" put on by the Cleveland Council on World Affairs (CCWA). The speaker was General David G. Perkins, Commanding General of U.S. Training and Doctrine Command. As the program notes stated, he is "responsible for selecting and recruiting U.S. Army Soldiers, training and educating Army IMG_9293 professionals, and the designing the future U.S. Army."

Along these lines, General Perkins told us that it was not his job to "predict" the future but to "describe" the future. It is certainly different from when he graduated from West Point at the time of the Cold War, because dealing with the Soviet Union was "complicated" back then but, just like a Swiss watch, an observer could figure it out after a while because the variable remained the same. Now and in the future, things look to be "complex" because the variables are constantly changing.

General Perkins also employed the example of checkers vs. chess. The old times were like checkers where all that matters is how many of the opponent's checkers one captured to win the game. But in chess, you have to weigh out the ramifications of every move and it doesn't matter how many pieces you capture-what matters is you take out the king aka "check mate." It is the same for today's soldier who must weigh out the political, cultural, and economic factors before he/she acts and often has to act quickly.IMG_9281

General Perkins was very honored to be entrusted with the authority that he has and proud to be working with the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces. He told us of how people of other countries are often amazed at how such a diverse unit can work so well together. "Don't underestimate the example that we set for others," he said.

Before the program started we talked to the general about the "Naturalization Through Military Service" program. General Perkins seemed very pleased by it and said that the people whom it benefits often make excellent soldiers and will be great assets to the United States after they become citizens. He went on to say that he has presided over several naturalization ceremonies including one in Iraq that was especially well-attended.

The person who introduced General Perkins at this event was Mr. Mark Davis, his classmate from West Point. Mr. Davis said that he really intends to make an effort to attend the Global Dialogue Forum in IMG_9290May titled "How to Build a Refugee Camp" because he once collaborated on the writing of a paper concerning how to successfully create "base camps" which were closely related to "refugee camps."

Mr. Davis said that such camps were a lot more than just tent cities. They provide resources such as food, water, medical resources and law enforcement to scores of people who become dependent on them in order to survive. What's more, their political impact has the potential to be enormous.

Michael Patterson 

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC.