Letter from the Director

Letter from the Director

26 June 2021

Dear NSF Friends of the Forum, members, and potential members,

Happy summer, NSF! Thank you very much for your patience as we organized and hosted a very successful Youth Security Forum (YSF) in late May. The event successfully engaged Washoe County School District students in discussion on a wide range of national security topics. Sarah Brown (WCSD, K-12 Social Studies Coordinator) sent a very kind thank you letter to NSF following the event. We are very grateful to our YSF sponsors who generously supported our effort to encourage a new generation of national security-informed citizenry. A big thank you to Mission Support & Test Services (MSTS), The Chamber of Commerce of Reno-Sparks, Ted Morse, Larry Struve, and Norm & Jan Ziomek! 

Even though scheduling the live Zoom sessions was a bit challenging for students and teachers, the content we generated for this event will be available for teachers to use in the upcoming 2021-2022 school year. If you are interested in seeing the content, including the 10-min introductory videos and the live Zoom session recordings, they are all available on the NSF website at: https://nationalsecurityforum.org/2021-youth-security-forum/

Thank you also for all of you that completed our recent survey about options for NSF to return to in-person/hybrid programs. To date, we have received nearly 100 responses and we will be reviewing all the responses next week. If you haven’t completed the survey, please do so before Wed 30 Jun. We know many of you are anxious to return to in-person meetings. The NSF Board fully supports this action as soon as is practically possible. Randi and Chelsea are working with a group of board members to identify and evaluate venues that will accommodate our need to conduct hybrid programs, seamlessly, in the future. Transitioning to virtual programs during COVID allowed us to recruit a wide range of esteemed speakers and panelists who would not have been able to join us for an in-person event. It also allowed us to conserve our budget by eliminating speaker travel costs.

Another major advantage of moving to virtual programming was that it opened our membership to participants from Las Vegas, other areas in Nevada, the country, and the world. Our top corporate sponsor, MSTS, brought us 30 new members from Las Vegas. We are working with MSTS to expand our reach to more participants in southern Nevada. Zoom programs also permitted many of you to attend events from your other homes or travel destinations outside of the Reno area.

NSF is committed to providing excellent programs to all our members regardless of their location. To that end, we plan to transition to hybrid programs starting in early fall once we have identified a venue that meets the needs you prioritized in your survey responses. Our new venue must be equipped to accommodate both in-person and remote speakers and participants. To accomplish this, we will likely opt for a smaller in-person venue with easy access and parking and ample Zoom seats available for our out-of-town members and guests. Stay tuned for more details on our venue search in the coming weeks. In addition, we are exploring options to host a welcome back member social event in late summer, as a thank you event for sticking with us through the challenging days of COVID quarantine. Watch for more on that event in a few weeks.

In the meantime, please continue to join us on Zoom for our upcoming programs.

  • Thu 15 July, “Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Understanding Today, Navigating Tomorrow” by Lucy Kurtzer-Ellenbogen, Director Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, U.S. Institute of Peace.
  • Wed 18 Aug, “Remembering 9/11” – As we approach the 20th anniversary of 9/11, I want to open our program to members who wish to reflect on their memories of that day. An open invitation for you to contribute your thoughts and/or present them orally (2-3 min each) during our session will go out in July.
  • Thu 09 Sep – “Cyber wars: Who wins, who loses?” by Matt Devost, founder of OODA and a member of the Black Hat review board. Matt was also a subject matter expert for our YSF. You can read his fascinating bio and watch a short intro video about the topic at the YSF link above.
  • Wed 13 Oct – Joint program with the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA). This will be an in-person event held at the Chateau in Incline Village (with discounted golf available afterwards, assuming it isn’t snowing then). Speaker will be Dr. Ananth Natarajan, a recent Incline resident, who will be speaking about his work developing artificial limbs for veterans recovering from injuries at Walter Reed VA medical facilities.

Thank you again for all your support and continued engagement in civil discourse and informed discussion on timely and important national security topics. I look forward to seeing you again soon both in-person and on Zoom.

Feel free to drop me an email anytime if you have questions, requests, or just want to say “hi.” My email is: mccarthy@nationalsecurityforum.org

Stay safe and cool this summer!

Maureen McCarthy
NSF Program & Commentary Director