Private and public sectors work together to strengthen national defense

Published: Sep. 26, 2018 at 4:44 PM MDT
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On Wednesday private businesses, schools, and military leaders gathered in Rapid City to brainstorm.

The topic: boosting our economy while helping our military.

It's a fancy name with a unified goal, the first Black Hills Defense and Industry Symposium.

From military to academics to entrepreneurs, people shared what they can bring to the table to build a stronger national defense.

Cheryl Chapman, chair, Rapid City Area Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee, says, "Having everyone work together to address some of the challenges that the military is facing is essential for success. We can't do it alone."

The Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee partnered with the Society for American Military Engineers to put on the event.

One former Ellsworth commander says our national security environment has drastically changed over the years.

James Kowalski says, "We saw the Russians invade Crimea. We've seen the Chinese become very aggressive in the south China sea, and we're a nation that has allies on all of those borders. We have responsibilities to our partners, to our friends, to maintain this global order that has brought billions of people out of poverty."

Organizers say their first symposium turned out great, featuring 25 speakers and welcoming 175 guests.

Cheryl Chapman says, "We view the symposium as just the beginning of discussions among individuals and organizations in this community and that is viewed really as a launching point for many more discussions to do more work together."

To learn about upcoming events, visit the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce website and click on Military Affairs Committee.