John "JV" Venable
Senior Research Fellow for Defense Policy, The Heritage Foundation
  • Former Commander of the Air Force's celebrated Thunderbirds with 4,400 hours of flying time including 300 hours of combat time over Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan
  • As commander of the 379th Air Expeditionary Group (Qatar), led 16 squadrons and 1,100 personnel in support of ground and air operations during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
  • Author of Breaking the Trust Barrier, a book on leading high-performance teams, and a sought-after speaker on leading teams, ethical leadership, and "the power of big dreams"

Tom Spoehr
Director, Center for National Defense, The Heritage Foundation
  • Served for over 36 years in the U.S. Army and attained the rank of Lieutenant General
  • Held senior leadership positions at the Pentagon and was responsible for charting the Army's financial plans, developing strategies to modernize equipment, and achieving business efficiencies and reform
  • Served as deputy commanding general of U.S. Forces Iraq during Operation New Dawn, overseeing the safe withdrawal of all American forces and equipment from Iraq ahead of schedule--one of the most complex and logistically intensive operations attempted by the U.S. military

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