Upcoming Conferences and Events

Past Conferences and Events

Allow us to reach more naval professionals through your tax-deductible donation now.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Co-hosted by the U.S. Naval Institute and the Military Officers Association of America 

2009 Defense Forum Washington photos - View Here.

2009 Defense Forum Washington On-Scene Report - View Here.

2009 Defense Forum Washington Transcript - View Here.

2009 Defense Forum Washington DVD set - Available - $30 plus shipping. Contact [email protected] to order.

~ Save the Date ~

SEPTEMBER 10, 2010

To join us for next year's Defense Forum Washington.

Directions  to the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center.

Please Note: There is a free on-site parking garage available for guests attending the Conference.

Metro from Washington, DC:

  • Take the Blue line to Pentagon City Metro stop
  • Complimentary Shuttle provided by the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center - runs every 1/2 hour beginning at 7:10 a.m. through 7:10 p.m. (shuttle is approximately an 8 minute ride, 5 miles from Hotel)

Metro from Old Town Alexandria, VA:

  • Take the Yellow line to King Street Metro stop
  • Complimentary Shuttle provided by the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center - runs every hour beginning at 7 a.m. through 7 p.m. (shuttle is approximately 10 minute ride, 4 miles from Hotel)

 Thank you to all of our 2009 Defense Forum Washington exhibitors.


Humana Military Healthcare Services

Lockheed Martin

TriWest Healthcare Alliance


Hospital Corportation of America

Navy Federal Credit Union

The Real Warriors Campaign, Defense Centers of Excellence


Pentagon Federal Credit Union


Key location Tabletop Display exhibit space were available through our Executive, Corporate, and Patron Sponsor packages. 

Limited side Tabletop Display exhibit spaces were available - $2,500 per display  (included one 6' skirted table, two chairs, easel, electrical outlet access, one complimentary registration entrance).  


For more information and the opportunity to participate in 2010, please contact Jeannette Wagner at [email protected] or 410-295-1055.



Lodging - Defense Forum Washington

Event location and lodging:


Hilton Alexandria Mark Center                                                    

5000 Seminary Road                  

Alexandria, V.A.  22311

Tel: (703) 845-1010

Fax: (703) 845-7662












Thank you to our On Scene Report Sponsor -



Coping with Unseen Injuries: From Battlefield to Homefront
A report on Defense Forum Washington 2009


By Stefanie Zehnder
In an effort to increase understanding of unseen injuries of war – and to connect wounded warriors and those who care for them with help they need as they deal with them – the U. S. Naval Institute and the Military Officers Association of America hosted their third annual Defense Forum Washington conference September 16 in Alexandria, Virginia.
The daylong forum, titled "Coping with Unseen Injuries: From Battlefield to Homefront," brought together nearly 600 combat veterans, family members, and those in and out of government working to assist the transition of men and women dealing with Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). They heard a collection of powerful and passionate speakers, and participated in a forum posing tough questions.
The overwhelming consensus was that – although there are many programs to aid service members and their caregivers – much needs to be done to make those programs accessible. A significant part of the solution, too, will involve abolishing stigmas that cause such injuries to be dealt with differently than more obvious physical wounds.
"The focus on (unseen injuries) is absolutely critical, the challenges we have are just now beginning to be understood," Admiral Michael G. Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told DFW attendees.
"This is different from a car crash, this is different from a football injury, and this is different from being a boxer," Mullen said. "These are 20-somethings who are wounded, who have 50, 60, 70 years to live, and that's where the sustained effort has got to come in."
"I swore that I would do all I could to avoid generating another generation of homeless veterans as we did in Vietnam. Shame on us if we don't figure that out."
Mullen promised progress on a governmental response to wounded warrior care – to include better coordination between the Defense Department (DoD), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and other agencies. But he noted that a major part of the solution is tapping into a sea of goodwill across the nation – non-profit groups looking for ways to help individual wounded warriors in their areas. Admiral Mullen introduced a special assistant he has appointed to figure out ways to expand care in this way. The challenge, he said, is matching a need to a donor who wants to make a difference. Part of the answer will involve broad community involvement through such social media as Twitter and Facebook, establishing a clearinghouse, and through universities.
"These are America's citizens who are going off doing our country's bidding" Mullen said of America's armed forces. When they are hurt as they do so, he said, the Nation incurs a serious obligation. "This is a debt. As far as I'm concerned this needs to be the first check we write."


Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman ADM Mike Mullen
discusses wounded warrior issues with DFW
2009 attendees.

Retired Army Colonel Roger Dimsdale, drawing from his experience as a former Chief of Staff of the VA Wounded, Ill and Injured Senior Oversight Committee, moderated a panel on how military leaders can and should deal with potential ""unseen injuries"" before, during and after combat deployments. An important first step, panelists agreed, is breaking down the stigma against discussion of PTS and TBI.
Criminal involvement is not an uncommon side effect of PTS, said Brockton D. Hunter, a Minnesota attorney and former enlisted soldier. He said some veterans do not acknowledge suffering PTS effects until after interaction with the courts. Because of increasing awareness of the connection between PTS and criminal activity, he noted, there is a movement in the civilian criminal justice system that encourages treating rather than incarcerating veterans in such circumstances.
Whether initiated by leaders, families or fellow service members, panelists pointed out that the ability to start the conversation about unseen injuries is vital. "We try to set the environment for Marines and families," said Marine Colonel Andrew R. MacMannis, commanding officer of the Marine Corps' Training Command.
"Because it's personal, it's hard to get them to start talking about it, so what we try to do is set the environment beforehand – where if there's a problem, we talk about it," said MacMannis.
Although it is good for formal leaders to be involved, chaplains are instrumental for the initiation of communication, said Army Colonel Richard B. O'Connor, Logistics Division Chief of the Pakistan Afghanistan Coordination Cell. "Soldiers didn't feel comfortable walking up to the colonel and saying, 'Hey sir, I have an issue.'" Chaplains who spent their days alongside service members on the front lines, he said, were frequently the ones who brought serious ""unseen injuries"" to light.
For mental health experts working with active duty soldiers, the key is to "establish trust and make your presence available," said Dr. Kathy Platoni, Army Reserve Colonel and Clinical Psychology Consultant to the Chief, Medical Service Corps. "If you don't become one with them and get into the trenches, they'll never trust you. That's where we do our best work."
Accessing the huge number of resources available is difficult, said Colonel Platoni, and many families are uniformed.
Gregg Zoroya, a USA Today reporter whose writing has focused on the impact of war on those who wage it, moderated the event's second panel – on the "Implication of Unseen Injuries: How Do We Respond on the Homefront?"
"The initial question," noted Zoroya, "after all this time (the eight years of war since 9/11), is what are the programs that work that help the warriors come home and reconnect. How do you actually get them the help they need when they need it?"
Army Reserve Lieutenant Colonel David Rabb, director of psychological health for the 63rd Readiness Support Command at Moffett Field, California, is one of many trying to create synergy between DoD, the VA and local communities. 
"Community heals and isolation kills," said Rabb.
He observed a twin challenge in providing help those injured while in service: finding the best services for each, then convincing wounded warriors and family members to ask for help.
While a great deal of national goodwill can be brought to bear to help injured veterans, one panelist noted, making such a system work will require helping civilian communities better understand military culture and the nature of combat.
"Our civilian community providers don't get us – they don't understand the military," said retired Navy Captain Catherine A. Wilson. "We've got to educate our providers," said Wilson, who serves as the Executive Director of the Virginia Wounded Warrior Program. The VA is not the only resource for veterans and their families, she said. Universities, faith based groups, and peer-to-peer groups are all eager to help, she affirmed; however, "the education piece is vital."
"We need to serve those who serve," said Barbara Van Dahlen, Founder and President of the non-profit organization "Give an Hour" which over recent years has provided military service members with 16,895 no-charge hours of mental health services, including direct counseling, education, and outreach. The gap between the civilian world and the military world is getting smaller, she said, but the larger public still requires much education in understanding the military so that service members can get help on an individual level from organizations in their communities.
A member of the audience challenged the panel to give a report next year to this forum on what individual states have specifically done for family members to provide group therapy, counseling, community employment and help in dealing with PTS and TBI. Wilson, among others, quickly accepted the questioner's challenge.
Commanding General of the Army Reserve Lieutenant General Jack Stultz presented DFW attendees with the event's luncheon keynote address. (Senator John McCain had been scheduled to speak, but extended sincere apologies to conferees when unexpected business on the Senate floor caused him to be unable to attend.) Having combined simultaneously distinguished careers at Proctor and Gamble and as a frequently deploying reservist, Stultz offered intimate knowledge of the needs of citizen soldiers and their families.
Stultz and his wife are experimenting with an idea to help reserve soldiers returning from war. The "Army Strong Community Center" in Rochester, New York, is part of a pilot program creating "virtual installations" supporting military people and their families – not near military installations, but in communities across the nation where soldiers, veterans and families live apart from traditional military information sources. "We've already had 650 family requests in Rochester." There is a need for families to have a user-friendly place to plug into and connect, he said.
Such centers, he said, will also be places for communities to plug into the military. Echoing a theme expressed by many throughout the day, he said noted that there is no shortage of local support for military families, but without an outlet much of that concern dissipates. In every community in America, said Stultz, you know where the local post office is; there need to be similar centers, he believes, at which veterans and the community can come together.
Stultz offered intimate observation on how, when soldiers return from war, it is frequently difficult to wind down to the apparent triviality of day-to-day peacetime.
"I've been at war for two years," he said, "high intensity and high responsibility. I've lost soldiers on the battlefield that I had to deal with. And I find myself back in a conference room at Proctor and Gamble talking about toilet paper," he said with laugh. The difficulty is "trying readjust to society when you hear someone whine about something that isn't important – you just want to explode," he said.
Echoing previous speakers, he said PTS is often experienced much later than the 90-day reintegration period often afforded returning warriors. "We don't start to see the symptoms until after 180 days or longer," he said. ""We ought to make counseling mandatory.""
The final panel of DFW 2009 focused on the needs of caregivers. Karen Guice, Executive Director of the Federal Recovery Coordination Program – an agency that combines efforts of the VA, DoD and others – estimated that 44 million Americans serve as informal caregivers. Those dealing with young wounded warriors, she said, face a need to understand injuries that are often very complex.
"Caregivers need access to good information that's useful and easy to understand," Guice said.
Eric W. Christensen, Managing Director of Health Research Policy at the Center for Naval Analyses, found that attending to seriously wounded and ill service members took a "substantial" economic toll on caregivers. Of those acting as caregivers of seriously wounded or ill service members, about three quarters gave up paying job before becoming a caregiver, he said. Seven out of eight had eventually to quit jobs to care for their wounded veteran.
Many reported financial challenges with their housing while being a caregiver, he added. Christensen's research also found that as individuals' care-giving burdens increase, so too do their financial burdens.
"In the course of our study one thing that became very apparent was the distinction in the support for those with TBI and PTSD and those with visible wounds" Christensen said. "Veterans with TBI still require a caregiver but because they do no meet the medical qualifications they do not always get that (formal, funded support.)"
"There needs to be an understanding for every family of a soldier with TBI – no matter how high functioning – that the care giving role never ceases," said Shannon Maxwell, wife of severely injured retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel Tim Maxwell. Through her experience of caring for her husband, she co-founded Hope For The Warriors, a non-profit organization committed to enhancing quality of life for veterans and families nationwide who have been adversely affected by injuries or death in the line of duty.
Maxwell stressed the need for caregivers to have "access to useful information on benefits." She was among a number of participants who stressed that it may be best to not provide a deluge of benefits information to families during their first, shocked weeks of dealing with a wounded loved one. A number of DFW participants noted that providing information over time, specifically as it is needed, would better serve the injured and their caregivers. Maxwell also noted that more could be done to adequately educate families as they faced the process associated with the retirement and separation from service of a wounded warrior.
Leslie Kammerdiener, mother of severely wounded Army Corporal Kevin Kammerdiener, expressed her deep disappointment and frustration with the lack of support she received from the Department of Veterans Affairs. She noted that the care her son received varied widely from the attentiveness at the Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas to what she characterized as disregard at VA poly-trauma center in Tampa, Florida.

Ms. Leslie Kammerdiener, mother of a severely
wounded soldier, talks about problems with her
son's care, as Deputy Under-Secretary of Defense
Noel Koch listens.

"The system is very harsh for a lot of us," she said. "We did not have a good experience." Much of the frustration was caused by lack of information and support for the caregivers. As a mother of a wounded soldier, Kammerdiener does not receive any of her son's benefits and thus bears the brunt of the financial weight of caring for him.
Kammerdiener said the Federal Recovery Coordination Program representative assigned to her is "the one thing that keeps me going."
"I'm not going to sit here today and tell you what a good job we're doing taking care of our wounded warriors," said Noel Koch, Vietnam veteran and newly-appointed Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Transition Policy and Care Coordination. "There are a number of things we do well. We do power point, we do storyboards, we do conferences, and we generate paper. The thing we don't do very well is seeing anything come out of this process."
"The fact is that you can feel like you're in good shape when you come home and fifteen years later you can be sitting there reading watching television and you can find yourself crying," he paused, "and I know something about that."
Today there are all sorts of resources and websites for service members and their families, he said. Two specifically noted as useful were those of the National Resource Directory and a nonprofit group called USA Together. He admitted, though, that a deluge of information, spread across disparate resources, can be defeating. The issue is how to easily access specifically required information. Another issue yet to be resolved, he noted, is the disparity of quality of post-injury – and even post-active duty – care among the branches of service.
Koch noted a need to change current military culture, in which services and service members have traditionally viewed discharge dates as an end of each group's involvement with the other. He suggested a need for both military services and individuals in uniform to think collectively about how to improve long-term education and employment of young veterans likely to live 60-65 years after their service.
The final DFW 2009 speaker is herself a wounded warrior. Now Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs, L. Tammy Duckworth was seriously injured while fighting in Iraq. In 2004, during a mission north of Baghdad, a rocket-propelled grenade hit the Blackhawk helicopter she was co-piloting. As a result, Duckworth lost both of her legs and partial use of one arm. After her recovery, she has dedicated her life to advocating on the behalf of the disabled – particularly those with war wounds. Sworn in to her present post earlier this year, she had much to say about what she termed a new direction at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Duckworth reiterated the "covenant America has with its veterans; our family members are there throughout our careers, they do this out of their love for the service members and for their nation." She said the VA is entering into a new era lead by retired Army Gen. Eric K. Shinseki.
"This new secretary will not accept poor behavior from the VA," she said and assured the audience that the new VA culture will be one of transparency, in which problems are self-reported. Secretary Shinseki's goal, said Duckworth, is to transform the VA into a people-centric, high-quality, forward-looking organization.
One way the VA hopes to do this is, she said, is by implementing a long-discussed electronic medical records system to track service members "from the day they enlist to the day they are laid to rest."
"With troops coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan and with Vietnam vets getting older, we find that more and more veterans are coming back to VA and we are going to see a boom at the end of this month," Duckworth said.
Duckworth acknowledged the legitimacy of issues raised regarding compensation of parents who serve as wounded warrior care givers, but said legislative change would be required to remedy the situation.
"We will not abandon our posts," said Duckworth, promising that when supporting initiatives to care for wounded warriors, "we will always be there for our fellow vets. It's our job to serve them."
2009 Defense Forum Washington photos - Click Here.

To read the 2008 Defense Forum Washington On-Scene Report, please Click Here.

To view photos from 2008 Defense Forum Washington, please Click Here.

Printer Friendly Schedule

Wednesday, September 16, 2009
8:00AM - Registration Opens
8:00AM - 9:00AMContinental Breakfast
9:00AM - 9:45AMWelcome / Kickoff Speaker
9:45AM - 11:00AMPanel: "Managing the Battlefield & Beyond - A Leadership View"
11:00AM - 11:10AMCoffee Break
11:10AM - 12:00PMPanel: "Implications of Unseen Injuries: How Do We Respond on the Homefront?"
12:00PM - 12:45PMLuncheon Keynote Speaker
12:45PM - 1:30PMLunch
1:30PM - 1:50PMQ & A Follow-on from Panel: "Implications of Unseen Injuries: How Do We Respond on the Homefront?"
1:50PM - 2:00PMCoffee Break
2:00PM - 3:30PMPanel: "Caring for Families & Caregivers: Facing the Truth"
3:15PM - 4:00PMClosing Keynote Speaker
3:30PM - 3:40PMBreak
4:25PM - 4:30PMRemarks & Acknowledgements from USNI and MOAA
4:30PM - 5:30PMNetworking Reception

Dr. Eric W. Christensen


Managing Director, Health Research Policy, CNA

Dr. Christensen is an applied microeconomist with a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Illinois. Currently, he is the managing director of CNA's health research and policy (HRP) team. His responsibilities include overseeing all of CNA's health-related studies for various Department of Defense (DoD) sponsors. Recently his team conducted several studies related to mental health issues including a needs assessment in the Navy and Marine Corps for combat and operational stress control, an evaluation of the Warrior Transition Program in Kuwait, a needs assessment for caregiver occupational stress control among Navy Medicine personnel, and the development of a population-based model to estimate the mental health staffing needs in the Military Health system.

Personally, Dr. Christensen recently completed a study to estimate the economic impact on the caregivers (family and friends) of the seriously wounded, ill, and injured service members. He also was the principal author of study for the Veteran's Disability Benefits Commission study looking at the earnings and quality-of-life losses of service-disabled veterans relative to their non-service-disabled peers.

From 2003-2005, Dr. Christensen worked in the Department of the Navy's (DON) Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Office providing analytic support on medical issues. This included working with the Medical Joint Cross-Service Group developing an optimization model to help this group in selecting closure and realignment alternatives. In 2005, he received the Navy's Superior Public Service Award for his work on BRAC.

Dr. Christensen's other work for the DON and DoD has explored the feasibility of OCONUS billet conversions, potential savings of a unified medical command, medical reserves' retention, compensation and retention patterns of military health care providers, impact of active duty obligations, the supply and demand for health care within the military health system, and the assignment incentives of Navy enlisted personnel. He has also conducted research for the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) looking at the impact of law enforcement operations on cocaine availability.

COL Roger Dimsdale, USA (Ret.)
COL Roger Dimsdale, USA (Ret.)

Keynote Speaker

Former Chief of Staff, DoD-VA Wounded, Ill, & Injured Senior Oversight Committee Staff Office

Mr. Roger Dimsdale currently works as an Independent Consultant providing management assistance on a broad range of issues related to Homeland Security and Veteran Affairs. He also serves as the Senior Vice Commander of the Nation's oldest Veterans Service Organization, the Legion of Valor. Membership in the Legion of Valor is granted to recipients of the Nation's two highest awards for valor, the Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, the Navy Cross and the Air Force Cross. In this capacity, Mr. Dimsdale represents the membership in National discussions pertaining to care of Veterans with a particular emphasis on OEF/OIF returnees, and serves as a member of the Veterans Day National Committee. He has served as an officer of the Legion of Valor since May 2007.

Mr. Dimsdale retired from Federal service in May 2009. He was appointed in November 2007 as the Chief of Staff, Wounded, Ill, and Injured Senior Oversight Committee (SOC). He then served as the Executive Director of the VA/DoD Collaboration Service. In this capacity, he was responsible for oversight of Department of Veterans Affairs activities involved with Wounded, Ill, and Injured Service members and Veterans. He led VA participation on the Senior Oversight Committee and the Joint Executive Council.

Mr. Dimsdale's distinguished career includes assignments as Deputy Assistant Administrator for Human Capital, Transportation Security Administration, Department of Homeland Security, from December, 2002; Director of Human Resources, Paralyzed Veterans of America from 1997; and General Manager for Security Products at Wells Fargo Alarm Services from 1993. In 1993, Mr. Dimsdale Retired from the United States Army after 31 years of active service as an enlisted soldier and officer. He entered the Army as a Private and he retired as Colonel. He has commanded at every level, including command of three companies, a battalion, and a brigade. Among the Nation's most highly decorated Viet Nam Veterans, his awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, two Purple Hearts and the Combat Infantryman's Badge.

Mr. Dimsdale earned a Master of Public Administration in Organizational Behavior from the University of Missouri and a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Park College. He is also a graduate of the United States Army's Command and General Staff College and the National War College.

The Honorable L. Tammy Duckworth

Keynote Speaker

Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs

L. Tammy Duckworth was sworn in as Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs on April 24, 2009. She had served previously as Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs and is still a major in the Illinois Army National Guard.

During a mission north of Baghdad in 2004, the Blackhawk helicopter she was co-piloting was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. Secretary Duckworth lost both of her legs and partial use of one arm. Since then, she has dedicated her life to public service, advocating on behalf of disability rights and Veterans. She testified before Congress regarding medical care and employment for Veterans, and in 2006 she ran for the U.S. House of Representatives, losing by less than two percent of the vote.

In 2008, Secretary Duckworth completed the Chicago Marathon, fulfilling a promise made while recovering at Walter Reed Army Hospital. She has also resumed flying and recently received a Statement of Demonstrated Ability from the FAA certifying her to fly aircraft.

Secretary Duckworth speaks fluent Thai and Indonesian and is a published author on the health risks of environmental radon and lung cancer. She is a recipient of the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil Rights Award, the 2008 Disabled Veteran of the Year of the Disabled American Veterans, and the American Veterans (AMVETS) Silver Helmet award. She has also earned many military decorations, including the Purple Heart, the Air Medal, and the Combat Action Badge.

CSM James H. Franklin, USA


Army Air Operations Group, Ft. McNair, DC

Command Sergeant Major James H. Franklin enlisted in the United States Army February 1985 in Marianna, Florida. He attended Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Knox, KY where he graduated as an M-60 Tank Mechanic.

During his 23 years of service, CSM Franklin has served in every enlisted leadership position from Squad Leader to Command Sergeant Major. He has also served as an Instructor Writer and Drill Sergeant for both Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training. His assignments include 1st 68th Armor Battalion, Wildflecken, Germany; 1st 34th Armor Battalion, Fort Riley, Kansas; 1st 1st Aviation Battalion (Attack), Fort Riley, Kansas; 239th Aviation Maintenance Company, Camp Humphrey, Korea; Foxtrot Company, 227th Aviation Regiment, Fort Hood, Texas; 2nd 3rd Aviation Battalion (Attack), Geibelstat, Germany; 2nd 6th Cavalry Regiment, Illsehiem, Germany; 3rd Staff & Faculty, Fort Eustis, Virginia; 1st 222nd Aviation Battalion, Fort Eustis, Virginia; First Sergeant Foxtrot Company, 2nd 13th Infantry Regiment and First Sergeant, Alpha Company, 1st 28th Infantry Regiment, Fort Jackson, South Carolina; First Sergeant HHC 2nd 52nd Aviation Regiment and First Sergeant Alpha Company, 2nd 52nd Aviation Regiment, Camp Humphrey's, Korea; First Sergeant, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st 6th Cavalry Regiment, Fort Hood, Texas; Command Sergeant Major, 1st 501st Aviation Battalion (Attack), Fort Hood, Texas; Command Sergeant Major, 3rd 82nd (GSAB), Combat Aviation Brigade Ft Bragg NC. Command Sergeant Major for Task Force Talon, which is comprised of numerous Active duty, Army Reserve, and National Guard units, with various airframes and missions in Afghanistan. Command Sergeant Major Air Operations Group, Ft Lesley J. McNair, DC.

His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (3rd OLC), Army Commendations Medal (5th OLC), Army Achievement Medal (3rd OLC), Army Good Conduct Medal (7 knots), National Defense Service Medal (Bronze Star Device), Southwest Asia Service Medal (3 Bronze Stars), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Non-Commissioned Officers Professional Development Ribbon (numeral 3), NATO Medal, Kuwait Liberation Medal, Saudi Arabia Liberation Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (numeral 3), The Drivers Badge, Master Aircraft Crewmember Badge, Parachutist Badge, The Drill Sergeant Badge.

His Military education includes all the NCOES courses, United States Army Airborne Course, Aviation Safety Course, Equal Opportunity Leaders Course, Instructor Training Course, Master Fitness Trainers Course, The United States Army Drill Sergeant School, First Sergeants Course, and the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy (Class 56). He has a Bachelor of Science degree from Excelsior College NY.

CSM Franklin is a recipient of the coveted Order of Saint Michael Bronze Award and a member of both the prestigious SGT Morales and SGT Audie Murphy Club.

Command Sergeant Major Franklin is married to the former Tina Hall of Rock Hill South Carolina and they have Two Sons Kaleb(12) and Kobe(8).

Karen S. Guice, M.D., M.P.P.


Executive Director, Federal Recovery Coordination Program, Department of Veterans Affairs

Karen S. Guice, M.D., M.P.P., is currently the Executive Director of the Federal Recovery Coordination Program. She has been a member of the surgical faculties at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, the University of Michigan, Duke University, and the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Dr. Guice served as a staff member of the Senate Committee on Labor from 1998-1999, and as a member of the professional staff at the American College of Surgeons. In 2007, she served as the Deputy Director for the President's Commission on Care for America's Returning Wounded Warriors.

Dr. Guice is a member of several professional societies. She received the Association of Women Surgeons Distinguished Member Award in 1999 and the W.W. Coon Surgical Residents Award for Teaching Excellence at the University of Michigan in 1988. In 1993, she received the Outstanding Alumna Award from the College of Arts and Sciences at New Mexico State University. She was given an award for Outstanding Achievement from the office of the Secretary of Defense in 2007 for her work on the President's Commission, and received a Commendation from the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2009.

Brockton D. Hunter
Brockton D. Hunter


Minneapolis Criminal Defense Attorney and Legislative Chair for the Minnesota Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Brockton Hunter is a Minneapolis-based attorney and former Army Scout who devotes a significant portion of his practice to representing veterans whose psychological injuries lead them into contact with the criminal justice system. Among Brock's clients is Anthony Klecker, an Iraq war veteran, charged with criminal vehicular homicide, whose case was profiled in the New York Times' War Torn series. In 2008, Brock drafted and led passage of pioneering legislation that made Minnesota the second state in the nation to encourage treatment over incarceration of veterans whose psychological injuries played a role in their criminal offense. Brock now speaks before military, legal and psychiatric professionals across the country about the history of combat trauma, its frequent ties to criminal behavior and how we, as a nation, can avoid the mistakes made with past generations of war veterans. In December 2008, Brock was invited to briefing the Presidential Transition Team on this issue.

Noel Koch
Noel Koch


Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, Office of Transition Policy and Care Coordination

Noel Koch was appointed by President Obama as the first Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Transition Policy and Care Coordination (TPCC) in May of 2009. In this role, he is responsible for policy and programs related to disability systems, Service member transitions to Veteran status, separations from the Armed Forces, and wounded warrior care coordination. He works closely with the Department of Veterans Affairs and other federal agencies to ensure medical and non-medical services are provided across the full continuum of care for wounded Service members, Veterans and families from recovery to rehabilitation through reintegration.

Mr. Koch recently served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of TranSecur, Inc., a global security corporation providing information and support services to foreign and domestic government agencies, corporations, families, and individuals at risk from crime, terrorism and related high-level threats in the multinational environment. Services include threat assessment; vulnerability analysis; security systems design, implementation, and management; crisis management systems design and assistance; and, security awareness training for high-risk personnel. TranSecur, Inc. has offices in the U.S., the Middle East, and Southeast Asia.

Mr. Koch is an expert on terrorism and security-related issues, with over forty years experience in developing intelligence and advanced analytical procedures for identifying and assessing potential threats to individuals, and institutional or corporate assets; and, providing security and protective services, including personal security details, facilities security, security force management, personal security awareness training for executives and other high-risk personnel.

Mr. Koch lectures and writes on matters related to terrorism and low-intensity conflict. He is a former Adjunct Professor specializing in Low-Intensity Conflict in the National Security Studies Program of Georgetown University's Graduate School. He served as an instructor for the US State Department's Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program, training foreign ministerial-level officials in anti-terrorism policy development, and senior-level crisis management.

Mr. Koch served as an expert witness in the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, and the attempted hi-jacking of Pan Am 073 in Karachi, Pakistan.

Mr. Koch served recently as a member of the Defense Science Board Panel on Post-Conflict Stabilization and Reconstruction.

Mr. Koch served in the Department of Defense for more than five years as Director for Special Planning, with responsibility for oversight and management of the Pentagon's role in dealing with international terrorism. These responsibilities included oversight of provisions for the security of U.S. military facilities and personnel. Mr. Koch directed and monitored the operation and evaluation of the military services' first anti-terrorism programs, including training programs for the protection of personnel in high-threat environments, as well as providing oversight and support for active anti-terrorist measures. He conceived and directed the first political-level crisis management exercises ever conducted using those Cabinet officers whose agencies (e.g. the White House, Departments of State, Justice, Transportation, CIA, etc. shared responsibilities for dealing with terrorist incidents.

Mr. Koch led the first survey element into Beirut in the aftermath of the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in April 1983. He was the Department of Defense representative to the Interagency Group on Terrorism, the White House's Terrorist Incident Working Group, and the National Security Council's Operations Subgroup. He was the Reagan Administration's principal liaison with foreign counter-terrorism agencies and authorities, and has extensive experience in managing relations with foreign government agencies from ministerial to working level individuals having host-nation responsibilities for protection of U.S. national interests, including U.S. military facilities and personnel.

U.S. Department of Defense
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (ISA). Responsibilities included management of ISA regional operations: Near-East/South Asia, Africa, East Asia-Pacific and Inter-America, as well as the Defense Security Assistance Agency; representing DoD in the Law of the Sea negotiations; conducting negotiations pursuant to DoD interests in the Micronesian Status Negotiations, including the preservation of U.S. interests in the Kwajalein Missile Range.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Africa. Responsibilities included management of DoD interests in Africa, U.S. defense and security assistance policy toward Africa, interface with other U.S. Departments and agencies - principally the White House, the Department of State and the Central Intelligence Agency - in the implementation of U.S. defense and foreign policy toward African nations.

Director, Special Planning. Oversight responsibility for the U.S. Department of Defense role in addressing terrorism, including development of U.S. policy toward terrorism; assuring adequacy of U.S. counter-terrorism preparations - including forces; training and indoctrination of U.S. forces abroad; liaison with all foreign counter-terrorism forces and foreign national authorities having host nation responsibility for the protection of U.S. military personnel and their dependents; representation of DoD on the Interagency Group on Terrorism, as well as in other federal entities involved in dealing with terrorism. He was responsible for the restoration of U.S. Special Operations Forces.

The White House
Special Assistant to the President of the United States. Responsible for preparation of Presidential speeches, legislative messages; energy policy development; representing special White House interests before members of Congress; and, selected foreign travel with the President.

Testimony, Speaking Engagements and Media Appearances
Frequently called to testify before U.S. Senate and House of Representatives on defense, special operations and terrorism issues.

Invited speaker before a wide assortment of public and private groups, including Harvard Law School, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, Georgetown University, Boston University, Florida State University; Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Korea; the Brookings Institute, Hans Seidel Stiftung (Berlin), the RAND Corporation, Los Alamos National Laboratories, Institute for the Study of Terrorism (London); West Point Senior Seminar, United States Military Academy; Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island; the John F. Kennedy Center, Ft. Bragg, North Carolina; USAF Special Operations School, Hurlburt Field, Florida; Marine Corps League, Democratic Leadership Council, American Society for Industrial Security, International Security Management Association, Young Presidents Association, the Comstock Club, Congressional Quarterly Seminar, American Chamber of Commerce (Panama), ministerial level groups in Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Niger, Nigeria, Zaire, Kenya, Sudan, Somalia, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, etc.

Frequent appearances on television, including Primetime Live, Nightline, Nightwatch, Viewpoint, ABC World News, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, 20-20, CBS Morning News, Good Morning America, "This Week with David Brinkley," Cable News Network, and the British Broadcasting System.

B.A., English, Widener University
M.A., Political Science, Bryn Mawr College
Graduate, US 7th Army NCO Academy, Bad Tolz, Germany

U.S. Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service
Decorated by the Republic of Korea for Counter-Terrorism Assistance
Achievement Award of the Association of the United States Army
Washington Regional Selection Panel for White House Fellows
Special Counsel, President's Advisory Committee on Refugees

MILITARY SERVICE Six years in the United States Army
Vietnam Veteran

Col Andrew R. MacMannis, USMC


Commander, Training Command

Colonel MacMannis was commissioned in August 1984 after graduation from The Pennsylvania State University. He was subsequently assigned to 2d Marine Division and served in several Platoon Commander billets in both 2d Battalion, 8th Marines and 2d Battalion, 2d Marines.

In 1989, he reported to The Basic School where he served as a Staff Platoon Commander and Tactics Instructor. Following this tour he attended the Amphibious Warfare School. From 1993 to 1995 he was assigned to 2d Battalion, 7th Marines as the Assistant Operations Officer and as Company Commander, Company E.

From 1995 to 1997 he attended the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey. Following school, he served as an Instructor and Associate Chairman of the Physics Department at the United States Naval Academy.

From 2000 to 2003 he served as the Special Operations Officer, G3, III MEF, as the Operations Officer for 31st MEU, and as Commanding Officer 2d Battalion, 4th Marines. In 2003 he joined 3rd Marine Division as the Commanding Officer, 2d Battalion, 3d Marines.

In 2005 he attended the National War College followed by billets as a Strategy Branch Chief and as the Chief of Policy for the Strategy and Policy directorate, J5, Joint Staff. He is currently the Commander, Training Command and has been selected to command 31st MEU in 2010.

Colonel MacMannis holds a BS in Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering, an MS in Applied Physics and an MS in National Security Strategy.

Colonel MacMannis is married to the former Kathryn Fitzgibbons and has three boys, Conor, Jack and Aiden.

The Honorable John McCain

Keynote Speaker

(R-AZ), Ranking Member, U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services

Senator John McCain has a remarkable record of leadership and experience that embodies his unwavering lifetime commitment to service. First elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Arizona in 1982, John has led the fight for reforming Washington, eliminating wasteful government spending, and strengthening our nation's armed forces.

Senator McCain's reform agenda to reduce federal spending and lower taxes quickly elevated him to statewide office and he was elected to the United States Senate in 1986, after serving two terms in the U.S. House.

In the Senate, he continued to demand that Congress put an end to loopholes for special interests and fix the broken system in Washington that too often allows lobbyists to write legislation and members of Congress to waste taxpayer money. In November 2004, Senator McCain was overwhelmingly reelected with nearly 77 percent of the vote.

As the son and grandson of distinguished Navy admirals, John McCain deeply values duty, honor and service of country. John attended college at the United States Naval Academy, and launched a 22-year career as a naval aviator upon his graduation.

On July 29, 1967, John narrowly survived the first of many near-death experiences during his lifetime while preparing to take off on a bombing mission over North Vietnam from his ship, the USS Forrestal. A missile accidentally fired from a nearby plane struck the fuel tanks on his plane.

Instead of taking the option to return home after the Forrestal disaster, Senator McCain volunteered for more combat duty - a fateful decision that stopped the clock on his life and separated him from his family, and country, for five and a half years.

During his 23rd bombing mission on October 26, 1967, a missile struck his plane and forced him to eject, knocking him unconscious and breaking both his arms and his leg. John was then taken as a prisoner of war into the now infamous "Hanoi Hilton," where he was denied necessary medical treatment and often beaten by the North Vietnamese. He spent much of his time as a prisoner of war in solitary confinement, aided by his faith and the friendships of his fellow POWs. When he was finally released and able to return home years later, Senator McCain continued his service by regaining his naval flight status.

Senator McCain's last Navy duty assignment was to serve as the naval liaison to the United States Senate. He retired from the Navy in 1981. His naval honors include the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart, and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Senator McCain currently serves on the following Senate Committees during the 111th Congress: Ranking Member on the Senate Armed Services Committee; Committee on Energy and Natural Resources; Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions; Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and Committee on Indian Affairs.

ADM Michael G. Mullen, USN
ADM Michael G. Mullen, USN

Keynote Speaker

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Admiral Mullen was sworn in as the 17th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on October 1, 2007. He serves as the principal military advisor to the president, the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council.

A native of Los Angeles, he graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1968.

He commanded three ships: the gasoline tanker USS Noxubee (AOG 56), the guided missile destroyer USS Goldsborough (DDG 20) and the guided missile cruiser USS Yorktown (CG 48).

As a flag officer, Mullen commanded Cruiser-Destroyer Group 2, the George Washington Battle Group and the U.S. 2nd Fleet/NATO Striking Fleet Atlantic.

Ashore he has served in leadership positions at the Naval Academy, in the Navy's Bureau of Personnel, in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and on the Navy Staff. He was the 32nd Vice Chief of Naval Operations from August 2003 to October 2004.

His last operational assignment was as commander, NATO Joint Force Command Naples/Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe. Mullen is a graduate of the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School and earned a Master of Science degree in Operations Research from the Naval Postgraduate School.

Prior to becoming chairman, Mullen served as the 28th Chief of Naval Operations.

COL Richard B. O'Connor, USA


Logistics Division Chief, Pakistan Afghanistan Coordination Cell

Colonel Rich O'Connor is currently assigned to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, The Pentagon, Washington D.C. Since May 2009, Rich has been the Logistics Division Chief, in the newly formed Pakistan Afghanistan Coordination Cell (PACC). Prior to his assignment in the PACC, he served for a year as the Deputy Division Chief, Distribution Division, J4 Joint Staff.

A native of Needham, Massachusetts, O'Connor entered the Army as an enlisted Soldier in 1976. After his enlistment, he attended Northeastern University, Boston, MA where he received his BS in Business Administration and subsequently received his commission in the Ordnance Corps through the Reserve Officer Training Corps in 1985. O'Connor also holds an MS from Naval Postgraduate School in Logistics Management and an MS in National Resource Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University, Washington D.C.

Prior to coming to Virginia and the District of Columbia, O'Connor was the G4 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, CO. In June 2004, COL O'Connor took command of the Support Squadron, 3D Armored Cavalry Regiment and deployed to Iraq with the Regiment for Operation Iraqi Freedom III from January 2005 through February 2006. Previously, he served as the Professor of Military Science at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA; Action Officer for the Deputy Chief of Staff, G4 and Executive Officer and Operations Officer (S-3) in the 16th Corps Support Group, Hanau, Germany. During this time, he deployed to Kosovo in support of Kosovo Forces 1 (KFOR 1). O'Connor has served in a variety of platoon and company-level assignments. He was a Platoon Leader and Company Executive Officer in the 588th Maintenance Company, 19th Maintenance Battalion, Giessen, Germany from 1986-1989. He commanded a maintenance company in the 110th Forward Support Battalion and was the Support Operations Officer in the 10th Mountain Division.

O'Connor's military education includes the Ordnance Officer Basic and Advance Courses, Combined Arms Service and Staff School, Command and General Staff College and the Senior Service College.

COL O'Connor's awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, with five oak clusters, Army Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters the Army Achievement Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal and the Korean Defense Service Medal.

COL O'Connor is married to the former Valerie Brown from Newburyport, MA and they have a son, Ryan. Ryan served in the 3 Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division as a Cavalry Scout and deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom IV from 2005-2007.

Gregg Zoroya


News Reporter, USA Today

USA TODAY staff writer Gregg Zoroya has been a reporter with USA TODAY for 11 years, working initially as a human-interest feature writer and general assignment reporter.

After 9/11, he traveled into the Iraq and Afghanistan war zones a dozen times, either to cover specific events such as the first elections in both countries, or to write on topics such as the affect of multiple deployments on troops or advances in military medicine.

In 2005, USA TODAY created a new beat called Zoroya focusing on war's impact on those who wage it?emphasizing such consequences as post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, joblessness, suicide, and family struggles. His writing earned a first-place National Headliner's Award for beat coverage in 2006.

Prior to USA Today, he worked for a series of newspapers in Southern California, the last of which was the Orange County Register, where he was legal affairs writer.

Leslie Kammerdiener


Mother of Corporal Kevin Kammerdiener, USA, Wounded Warrior

In February 2008, I started a blog when my son Kevin first entered the Army to capture our journey as a family, not really knowing where the journey would take us.

Kevin was critically wounded in Afghanistan on May 31, 2008. My daughter, Brianna, and I left our homes and our lives to be by his side from that day forward.

My blog, http://lesliekamm.blogspot.com, is where you will learn of all of our accomplishments as well as the trials of Kevin's recovery of such serious injuries.

Although we have come through the acute stage of his burns, we are now focusing on the rehabilitation for his brain injury. Kevin is still on active duty, but we have started the disability evaluation process which will lead to eventual separation from the military.

For those of you unaware, Kevin has lost nearly 85% of the left side of his brain, causing him to not be able to do much (yet) with his right side and he can only say a few words so far. He also has to learn to write and he needs to remember everything in his past life.

Basically, we have 'started over'.

Dr. Kathy Platoni


Clinical Psychologist
Colonel, Medical Service Corp, US Army Reserve
Army Reserve Psychology Consultant to the Chief, Medical Service Corp

Kathy Platoni, Psy.D. has been a practicing clinical psychologist for 27 years and maintains her private practice in Centerville, Ohio between military deployments. She served as commander of the 1972nd Medical Detachment (Combat Stress Control) at Guantanamo Bay Cuba from 2003-2004, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in the Global War on Terrorism. Having volunteered to return to active duty within weeks of her redeployment from Joint Task Force-GTMO, Dr. Platoni deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, holding the position of Deputy Commander of Clinical Services for the 55th Medical Company (CSC) in Baghdad and Officer in Charge of Team Ar Ramadi, situated the seat of the insurgency. At the invitation of the 3rd Brigade Commander, 3rd Infantry Division upon the conclusion of her tour of duty in the wartime theater, Dr. Platoni reported to the Home of the Infantry, Fort Benning, Georgia for an additional six month mission in order to provide for the reintegration services of the 2nd Battalion, 69th Armored Regiment due to elevated numbers of psychological casualties among combat arms soldiers.

Dr. Platoni is a graduate of the School of Professional Psychology of Nova University in Davie, Florida. Subsequent to the conclusion of her doctoral studies under the auspices of the United States Army's Health Professionals Scholarship Program, she completed her internship on active duty Army status at William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, Texas in 1984. From 1984 through 1987, she served as Chief of Psychology at DeWitt Army Community Hospital, Fort Belvoir, Virginia. As a graduate of the Army's Command and General Staff College, she holds the rank of Colonel and was recently appointed to the position of Army Reserve Clinical Psychology Consultant to the Chief, Medical Service Corp. She will be deployed in support of Operation Iraq Freedom again in December of 2009 with the 1908th Medical Company (CSC).

Dr. Platoni holds appointments as Assistant Clinical Professor with the School of Professional Psychology, Wright State University and is a skilled hypnotherapist, utilizing hypnosis in the treatment of patients suffering from chronic and debilitating pain. Due to her father's exposure to radiation during the bombing of Nagasaki during World War II, she was born with congenital defects that have required extensive maxillofacial (bone) reconstructive and bone grafting procedures. No stranger to chronic pain herself, Dr. Platoni has undergone 58 major and minor surgeries over the course of the last 24 years to correct these defects, 18 of them with hypnosis as the sole anesthetic. Her last major plastic surgery was featured in a segment of ABC News "20/20" in 1999. She was awarded Diplomat status by the American Academy of Pain Management and holds professional memberships in the American Psychological Association, Ohio Psychological Association, the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, the Society of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, and the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States. She has authored a number of scholarly articles and book chapters pertaining to hypnosis for pain management and the psychological aftermath of war.

Since the "9/11" tragedy and attacks on the United States, Dr. Platoni voluntarily deployed to New York City on two occasions in order to provide disaster mental health services to members of the New York City Police Department. For her professional contributions to the field of psychology and many years of humanitarian service, she was awarded a lifetime achievement award by her alma mater, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, in 2008.

LTC David Rabb, M.A., L.I.C.S.W., A.C.S.W.,USAR


Director of Psychological Health, 63rd Readiness Support Command, Moffett Field

In June 2009, LTC David Rabb was appointed Director of Psychological Health, 63rd Readiness Support Command at Moffett Field. He has oversight of the psychological health and wellness of 38,000 Reserve Soldiers that resides in a seven state area that includes CA, NV, AZ, NM, OK, AZ, and TX. Prior to this assignment, LTC Rabb served two years as the Western Regional Medical Command Care and Transition Care Coordinator attached to VA Palo Alto Health Care System.

Having served four years of active duty as infantryman in the United States Marine Corps, LTC Rabb has completed 22 years in the United States Army Reserves. From 1989 to 2007, he served in the 785th Medical Company, Combat Stress Control (the last four years in the unit, he served as the Commander). The primary mission of the 785th is to provide combat stress control services and treat Soldiers with combat stress, grief and loss, and battle fatigue. The unit returned from a one-year deployment in Iraq in February, 2005. Due to his unit many accomplishments in Iraq, his unit earned the U.S. Army Meritorious Unit Citation. For his leadership, LTC Rabb is the receipt of the Bronze Star Medal.

LtCol Tim Maxwell, USMC (Ret.) & Shannon Maxwell


Wounded Warrior & Spouse and Co-Founder of "Hope For The Warriors"

LtCol Tim Maxwell, USMC (ret), and Shannon Maxwell are active and respected advocates for wounded warriors and their families. Personally affected when Tim suffered a severe penetrating traumatic brain injury in Iraq on October 7, 2004, they have raised awareness and prompted a catalyst of reform for meeting the needs of wounded service members, veterans and their families, particularly those with traumatic brain injury. Tim Maxwell's exceptional leadership and insight led to the development and establishment of the Wounded Warrior Barracks (Maxwell Hall) and the Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment. He now sits as the president of SemperMax, a company dedicated to working with and aiding wounded warriors and consulting those in a position to make a difference. Taking on the role of caregiver and working alongside Tim to advocate and fulfill the needs of other wounded warrior families, Shannon Maxwell co-founded Hope For The Warriors?, a non-profit organization committed to enhancing quality of life for US Service Members and their families nationwide who have been adversely affected by injuries or death in the line of duty. She now serves as an appointed member of the TBI Family Caregiver Panel and a board member of several non-profit organizations helping wounded warriors. Individually and as a team they are sought after to provide personal and direct insight into the needs of wounded families and to highlight gaps in services and benefits currently available. Both have received national and local recognition for their work and dedication. The Legion of Merit (Tim) and President's Volunteer Service Award (Shannon) are among them.

LTC Cynthia Rasmussen, RN, MSN, CANP, USAR


Psychological Director, 88th Regional Support Command, FT. Snelling

LTC Rasmussen has been mobilized for 3 years as a member of the Combat Stress Control Team at the 88th Regional Readiness Command (RRC), the Army Reserve Command for Service Members is six Midwestern states (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois). This team is organized to care for the mental health needs of the service members and families in the region during the entire deployment cycle to include reintegration. The Comprehensive program has served thousands of Service Members, Commanders, Family members, Employers and Communities through education, support, crisis intervention, and referrals. The 88th RRC Surgeons Office Combat Operational Stress Control (COSC) Team provides a comprehensive program of education, assessment, and brief intervention and referral to meet the behavioral health needs of Soldiers, Families, and the community. Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI)/Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are the signature injuries of the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Barbara Van Dahlen, Ph.D.


Founder and President of "Give an Hour"

Barbara Van Dahlen, founder and president of Give an Hour, is a licensed clinical psychologist who has been practicing in the Washington, D.C., area for 16 years. She specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of children. Dr. Van Dahlen has spent her career interacting with and coordinating services within large systems, including school districts and mental health clinics. In addition, for many years, she served as an adjunct faculty member at George Washington University, where she trained and supervised developing clinicians. She received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Maryland in 1991. Concerned about the mental health implications of the Iraq War, Dr. Van Dahlen founded a nonprofit organization called Give an Hour in 2005. The organization is creating a national network of mental health professionals who are providing free services to U.S. troops, veterans, and their loved ones. As of August 2009, the network has over 4,400 providers.

As part of her work with Give an Hour, Dr. Van Dahlen has participated in numerous panels, conferences, and hearings on issues facing veterans. She also writes a monthly column for Veterans Advantage and is contributing to a book on post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries. She is quickly becoming a notable source and expert on the psychological impact of war on troops and families.

CAPT Catherine A. Wilson, NC, USN (Ret.)


Executive Director, Virginia Wounded Warrior Program, Department of Veterans Services

A native Virginian, Catherine Wilson currently serves as the Executive Director of the Virginia Wounded Warrior Program. Established in July 2008, this program is operated by the Virginia Department of Veterans Services in cooperation with the Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services and the Department of Rehabilitative Services. Through networks of public and private partnerships the program ensures timely assessment, treatment and support services for persons recovering from the effects of stress-related injuries or traumatic brain injuries.

Serving in the United States Navy for nearly 30 years, she retired in October 2008. At the time of her retirement she was the Commanding Officer (Chief Executive Officer) of Naval Hospital Bremerton. Prior to that assignment she was deployed and served as the Commanding Officer of U.S. Military Hospital Kuwait (a tent hospital) and nine Troop Medical Clinics located throughout Kuwait and in Qatar. Prior to deployment, CAPT Wilson served as the Executive Officer, Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton where she also commanded its Fleet Hospital.

Past assignments include Naval Medical Center Portsmouth where she was the Director of Fleet and Family Medicine. Her Directorate was staffed by over 2,600 personnel. CAPT Wilson also served as Deputy Director of the TRICARE Mid-Atlantic Region Lead Agent Office where she had direct impact on health care for over a million beneficiaries in Virginia and North Carolina. She had responsibility for the administration of a $3.1 billion dollar managed Care Support Contract.

Selected as the Congressional Detail to Senator Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii in 1999, she served as the advisor to the Senator on all health related issues. CAPT Wilson was a staff assistant for the Senate Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee for Defense and the Labor, Health, and Human Services and Education Committee.

CAPT Wilson served at the Pentagon on the staff of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs). During this tour, she was Deputy Director for Force Management, Senior Policy Analyst for TRICARE Operations Policy, and ultimately served as Chief of Staff for the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) for Health Services Operations and Readiness. At the time, the Military Health System was a $15.5 billion dollar system, the Nation's second largest, and included the integrated delivery of health care to more than 8.2 million DOD beneficiaries worldwide. Other executive management positions include a four-year tour at the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery as the Deputy of Enlisted Force Management and the Navy Surgeon General's representative for HIV and AIDS prevention education. Former duty assignments include Naval Hospital Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Naval Hospital Philadelphia; and National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland.

CAPT Wilson's educational background includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing, a Master of Science degree in Trauma/Critical Care Nursing with a minor in Education, and a Master of Science Degree in Human Resources Management and Health Policy. Certified in managed care by the Academy of Healthcare Management and earned a Certificate in Legislative Studies from Georgetown University.

Her awards include the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal (third award), Navy Meritorious Service Medal (fourth award), Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Military Unit Commendation (second award), Overseas Service Ribbon, the national Defense Service Medal (second award), and the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal. She is the recipient of the USUHS Meritorious Service award and the distinguished Hewlett Packard award.

CAPT Wilson is married to Don D. Wilson, CAPT, MSC, USN (RET) and has two children and three grandchildren. She resides in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Thank You to Our:

Corporate Sponsors -



Patron Sponsors-



Lunch Sponsor -


Registration Sponsor -


On Scene Report Sponsor -


Breakfast Sponsor -



Champion Sponsor -



Show Printing Sponsor -

Champion Sponsor






On Scene Report Sponsor
Association of the US Army

Association of the US Army

Patron Sponsors


Hospital Corporation of America

Hospital Corporation of America

TriWest Healthcare Alliance

TriWest Healthcare Alliance

Registration Sponsor
Fisher House

Fisher House

Show Printing Sponsor
Frank Gumpert Printing

Frank Gumpert Printing

Corporate Sponsors
Humana Military

Humana Military

Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin

Lunch Sponsor



Conferences and Events

View All

From the Press

Guest Speaker & Book Signing

Thu, 2017-02-23

Alfred Scott McLaren

Guest Speaker & Book Signing

Sat, 2017-02-25

Why Become a Member of the U.S. Naval Institute?

As an independent forum for over 135 years, the Naval Institute has been nurturing creative thinkers who responsibly raise their voices on matters relating to national defense.

Become a Member Renew Membership