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On Tuesday, May 21, BENS hosted a small discussion with Moroccan officials visiting the United States as part of the State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). Member representative Stephanie Yantajoined with Gen. Tim Ray, USAF (Ret.) and Maj. Gen. Chris Craige, USAF (Ret.) and sat down with seven officials from the Moroccan government and heads of airport security. The discussion centered around counterterrorism, protecting soft targets, security in the aviation industry, and how the U.S. leverages private sector expertise to address these threats.

On May 22nd, BENS hosted the 29th Chief of the National Guard Bureau, General Daniel Hokanson. GEN Hokanson discussed his priorities, including closing the gap in health care benefits, boosting recruitment, and modernizing the force. With an aggressive China asserting influence in the Indo-Pacific and around the globe, a belligerent Russia invading a peaceful neighbor, North Korea developing long-range offensive weapons, and numerous violent nonstate actors at work in the Middle East and beyond, the mission of the National Guard and the capabilities we bring to the fight have never been more important.

NextGen BENS hosted a briefing with Itai Biran, Consul for Political and Commercial Affairs from the Consulate General of Israel to the Midwest. It was a sobering moment when Consul Biran confirmed that 128 hostages are still being held in Gaza, and 40 of those are believed to be murdered. Consul Biran stressed for BENS members that the Middle East is being driven by two competing bocks – the moderates and the extremists. Thanks to BENS member John Geiringer for hosting the event. 

The Army Marketing Enterprise Office met with BENS Chicago to discuss their 2024 objectives. Our discussion was led by Army Chief Marketing Officer, Brigadier General Antoinette Gant, PMP. Special thanks to BENS member, George H. Gilmore for hosting the event.

On May 29th a group of BENS SE members gathered to visit SOFWERX in Tampa. The group met with the director of SOFWERX and the director of ICWERX and were provided a 101-level introduction to both as well as a tour of the SOFWERX facility. BENS SE also officially welcomed new members Sean Drake and Steve McKenna.

A BENS delegation visited the Global Security Research Center at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory last week. The visit provided a unique opportunity for BENS to witness firsthand the transformative impact of research and innovation at LLNL, inspiring collaboration and potential partnerships in the pursuit of shared goals in science, technology, and national security.

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