PHC Students Travel to Colorado for Defense Policy Conference

Posted by Becca Samelson on 10/31/17 5:03 PM

PHC at the USAF

Eight Strategic Intelligence students, accompanied by SI Program Director Colonel Gordon Middleton, traveled to the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado last week to participate in a conference on the future of defense policy

“The best part was the new perspective the conference brought to us,” said senior Spencer Kolssak, who attended the conference. “The new ideas and questioning of our fundamental assumptions regarding U.S. security were enlightening.” 

The four-day conference included panels on topics from reforming NATO to utilizing cybertechnology in conflicts. What the students enjoyed most of all, however, were the roundtable exercises.  

“We were broken up into roundtable groups where we were given a scenario to develop policy and defense recommendations for,” said junior Olivia Bowers. “We worked as teams with other cadets and college students to write national strategy for U.S. action in a scenario involving fictional countries.”

It was an exciting experience for students who dream of impacting foreign policy one day.

“We participated in a 'murder board,' which is remarkably similar to moot court, with judges interrupting and asking you questions about your strategy,” Bowers said. “We had really incredible cadets leading our group and working together. Our team got third.”

Col. Gordon MiddletonOther PHC students’ teams placed in the top five, including Kolssak’s group, who received second place.

Not only did the students like the competitive and academic aspects of the conference, but they also enjoyed their stay in Colorado.

“We sort of had the full Air Force Academy experience,” Kolssak said.

During the four-day conference, the students stayed in the dorms with cadets, ate in the cadet dining hall, and toured the Airforce Academy campus, including its airfield and air lab.

The trip included a family reunion for one PHC student -- senior David Poythress reunited with his brother Brian, an Air Force cadet.

“Probably the coolest thing we did was walk through the air gardens with Cadet Brian Poythress,” Bowers said.

Cadet Poythress led the students through the gardens while describing the wall of graduates who were killed in combat and other memorials, including the plaque of the airman’s creed.

“Brian challenged us to embrace the airman’s creed as our own,” Bowers said. “The walk was by far the most incredible and moving moment of the trip.”



Reporting courtesy of PHC's The Herald.


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