This year the U.S. Navy announced that it soon would be unable to maintain an aircraft carrier presence in the increasingly volatile Persian Gulf due to increased demand, a strain on sailors and ships and a decreased budget. To bring this critical national security gap to the forefront of the conversation about overall defense strategy, Powell Tate’s defense team and the America’s Strength Campaign hosted a panel discussion for a packed room of representatives from the media, military, defense industry, think tanks, and congressional staff.
Bryan McGrath of the Hudson Institute and founding managing director of The Ferrybridge Group moderated the dynamic conversation between three panelists: Retired Admiral Mark Fitzgerald, former commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa; Retired Vice Admiral Peter Daly, CEO of the U.S. Naval Institute; and Dr. Robert Farley, Professor at the University of Kentucky’s Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce.
Three key strategies contributed to the success of this panel discussion, and can be used to amplify issues across all industries and subject areas:
Enlist subject matter experts with varying perspectives. Each panelist came to the conversation from a well-informed yet different personal experience, which ensured that blanket statements were challenged and the issue was explored in depth.
Make the subject accessible to the media, and in turn, a national audience. The complexities of defense spending and the appropriations process, combined with the intricacies of aircraft carrier shipbuilding and maintenance, can be hard to digest. Through the use of personal stories and strong anecdotal evidence, the experts were able to make a complicated situation approachable. Panelists stayed in the room after the discussion ended as well to give the media one-on-one access for additional context.
Continue the conversation beyond the event. Live updates on Twitter ensured that members of the media and defense industry who were unable to attend the event received key takeaways in real time.
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