I’m certainly no GI Jane, but through a volunteer organization called BENS – Business Executives for National Security – I’ve had a unique opportunity to learn about national security issues and contribute communications and marketing know-how – a chance few private citizens ever get.
BENS is a one-of-a-kind national organization that connects business people with the government and military to create partnerships. We hear about national security situations from the country’s best minds and contribute best practices from the private sector to help solve national security threats. The goal is to help make America smarter and safer. Members apply their practical knowledge and experience to a wide range of issues – from cyber-crime and energy grids to tracing terrorists’ money and streamlining bureaucracy. We help make operations more efficient, save money and improve programs for veterans. Because BENS is nonprofit and non-partisan, our input is credible and respected.
What impacts me about BENS?
It’s hearing first-hand from some incredible heroes like General Michael Hayden, retired U.S. Air Force four-star general and former director of both the NSA and CIA. He talked to us this month about what he calls “the spooky stuff” that’s our first crucial line of defense. The general also discussed the challenge of the long-term relationship between American espionage and the American people in an era of shrinking trust in government and expanding global threats.
It’s seeing the service and sacrifice of our brave military men and women: I had the amazing experience of spending two days aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt – seeing our Navy F-16 pilots taking off and landing round the clock – and a Navy community of 5,000 men and women protecting our country and way of life.
It’s a privilege for me to serve as the Communications Chair for Southeast BENS.
Jane Stout, EVP