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Banking on KC – LTG James Rainey and Michael Hockley

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Kelly Scanlon:

Welcome to Banking on KC. I'm your host Kelly Scanlon. Thank you for joining us. With us on this episode are commanding General James Rainey of the United States Army and Command College, and Mike Hockley, the civilian aide to the Secretary of the Army for Eastern Kansas and a partner and environmental law attorney with Spencer Fane, LLP. Welcome to the show today.

Michael Hockley:

Thank you, Kelly.

Kelly Scanlon:

Very excited. And before we go any further, I want to thank you both for your service. We really appreciate all you do to protect us. And we also appreciate that you're joining us on this Veteran's Day episode to talk about the United States Army Command and General Staff College here at Fort Leavenworth. It's the oldest continuously operating military installation west of the Mississippi River. And it's a world-class gem right here in the Midwest. Yet a lot of Kansas Citians probably don't know about the college itself, so let's start there. General Rainey, what is the mission of the college?

LTG James Rainey:

The best way to think about it is that we are responsible for developing leaders and driving change. We are a lot of things for the Army, really. We are the headquarters of what we call "Army University," which most people don't understand or know, but the Army is actually the largest university system in the United States of America, spread across about 43 different installations. We put over 300,000 people through university experience of some kind every year. And then we have about 80,000 at any one given time that are responsible for doing that.

LTG James Rainey:

It's also the home of the Command and General Staff College, which is really the crown jewel of all leader development and education in the United States Army. I think the whole Department of Defense, but I'm biased as an Army leader. But it's where we train all of our Majors. So all of our officers about halfway through their normal 20 year career, come out here and spend a year of what is really a high-end graduate level education, master's producing, where they study about our profession and about military history and about the prosecution of war. We're a lot of other things out here, both for the army and for the local community.

Kelly Scanlon:

Yeah. So a lot of things going on there. And General Rainey, I'm going to stay with you. Tell us about why the college was established and a little bit of a brief history. I believe it goes all the way back to Custer.

LTG James Rainey:

I'll start with Fort Leavenworth. So Fort Leavenworth goes back to the 1827 or so, it is the longest continually established military installation west of the Mississippi. So in the early days it was an Army fort whose primary mission was to protect the settlers as they expanded our great country to the West. Most people are probably aware that both the Oregon trail and the Santa Fe trail, the nexus of that is here in the Leavenworth area nearby. So people would come up the river, dismount, check-in with the fort, stock up on supplies, and start the great westward expansion. And it was a training base, key logistics center during the civil war.

LTG James Rainey:

And then after that, it became more the center of our education, the school of cavalry and infantry started here at Fort Leavenworth, and it went on to produce the great leaders of the World War II timeframe. So Eisenhower went to school here. Patton went to school here. Later on, continuing with that tradition, Colin Powell, all 17 of the currently serving four-star Army generals attended CGSC here at Leavenworth. That's a little bit of the history of both of how we ended up here in Kansas and then how we became, really, the intellectual center for the United States Army.

Kelly Scanlon:

Mike, it may not be widely known, but 1% of our population stands for the remaining 99%. Talk to us about what that means and its implications.

Michael Hockley:

Well, Kelly, currently service members who are actually serving in the military in one component or another, and that could be on active duty in the National Guard or the Reserve, could be in the Army, Navy, Marines or Coast Guard comprise less than 1% of the adult population in the United States. And about 1% of our young people who are qualified and inclined toward military service currently serve in one of those components that you talked about. So if you look back in our history, we have about 7% of our population are veterans, but that's quickly falling off because a lot of those veterans were World War II veterans, Korean War veterans, and Vietnam veterans. As those populations decline, it really will get down to about a percent of our population either are or have served our civilian population.

Michael Hockley:

And as a veteran and American citizen I'm really grateful to those who are willing to serve and who have contributed to the Army and in our nation as service members, and I'm grateful that our country trusts us with their sons and daughters and gives us the support that we need to perform our missions. The Army tries to be good stewards of the trust that they've been given by the civilians, and to do what is right to make sure that people can exercise all of their freedoms. I think one of the things that people may not understand is that for most people who have either served or are serving, the military profession really is a profession and it's a calling for most of us. We're there to be prepared to act on behalf of the American citizens, to protect and preserve our country's interests and our national security.

Kelly Scanlon:

General Rainey, you mentioned training earlier, that all kinds of training takes place. I'd like to talk about that a little bit more specifically. You take a holistic approach to training. So talk to us about the various kinds of training that occurs at the college and how really the eventual goal of that is to create well-rounded officers that can help to effect lasting peace.

LTG James Rainey:

Thank you. Yeah, that's a great question. So a couple things. One, nobody, nobody hates war more than soldiers, more than the men and women who called have to deploy and leave their families and fight. So everything that we do really is with an eye towards preventing war, not causing it. That's number one. Number two, the best way to guarantee peace, unfortunately, in my opinion, is to be a very strong professional and competent military. We deter our enemies and we reassure our allies by being the best military in the world and the best army on the face of the planet. So that's really what underpins everything we do. And we do have a very diverse approach to that. So we studied military history. We studied military theory. But we studied like a lot of grad schools, a wide ranging curriculum where we're working on things like artificial intelligence and big data.

LTG James Rainey:

We spend a lot of time on the human aspects of the world, cultural anthropology, for example, understanding the human beings. Enemy, friendly and the neutral people in between. A lot of economics, understanding geopolitics and global shifts. We have people from all the other government inter-agency teammates here. We even have people that come here from places like USAID in the state department, so that we're not viewing the challenges that we're confronted with in the world through a single lens. So those kinds of wide ranging breadth and depth of topics are just as much a part of what we do as the technical and tactical aspects of war fighting, if we should find ourselves having to do that.

Kelly Scanlon:

Yes. So very, very holistic approach. And what I found extremely interesting is that the college admits around 100 international officers to each class. So tell us about why that occurs, where do these other officers come from around the world, and how that benefits the U.S. and really the world in general?

LTG James Rainey:

Yeah, we're very proud of our great international teammates who come to us from over a hundred other countries. They're the ones you would expect. They're our traditional allies and partners like other NATO countries and some of our Asian partners. We have longstanding relationships with Korea and Japan, but also other countries that are at different stages of their development in terms of their military. So we have partners from countries in Africa, South America, Eastern Europe, and really because of the United States is recognized as such a competent and professional military, almost everybody in the world wants to come and train here. From a U.S. perspective it's definitely in our interest because the world has gotten to the point in terms of complexity, that if there is a war or even in the competition that's going on every day, short of war, we can't be successful in that without allies and partners, like-minded countries that value democracy and freedom, taking care of human beings.

LTG James Rainey:

So it's kind of a win-win for both the countries who come here and us. Over half the foreign international students that come here, over time, end up becoming general officers in their own countries, several to either lead their militaries and in some cases to lead their countries. So that time they spend here seeing how we operate, seeing how America operates, getting to live in the great Midwest of the United States and meet people on/off post in the local community are all very beneficial to them. But from our standpoint, it's... I can't describe the value to our students of getting to interact both in class, but also off-duty socially with a wide range of global citizens. We think it's one of the things that makes what we do so special.

Kelly Scanlon:

So the relationship building that goes on there pays lots of dividends, perhaps peace dividends later when we might be called upon to work together in some sort of a battle or a war situation.

LTG James Rainey:

Yeah, almost all of the senior leaders, General Schwarzkopf, General Powell, myself. Before I came here, I was the deputy commander in Afghanistan and met and knew people that had trained here at Fort Leavenworth and had gone through the Command and General Staff College. And like I said, John Powell and General Schwarzkopf famously have told stories about being senior leaders in combat and dealing with leaders from other countries where they had a shared common educational experience here at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Kelly Scanlon:

And you also have an international hall of fame. You mentioned that about 50% of them rise to the highest ranks within their own military, and you have a hall of fame that honors those people.

LTG James Rainey:

Yep. We sure do. It's over... I think the current count is 28 of them have gone on to be the head of their government. Over 50% are general officers in their own countries. And we recognize them. It's a huge thing. We'll make sure that Mr. Hockley lets all your viewers know when the next ceremony's coming up. We'd love to have anybody come visit us.

Michael Hockley:

Yeah, Kelly, the hall of fame is pretty impressive because there are... In order to be admitted to the hall of fame, not only do you have to have become a general officer in whatever military or country that person is from, they have to have become the senior military officer in their respective countries. So for example, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, if they were in the United States, or at least the Chief of Staff of the Army, of the 4,000 officers, approximately, who have become general officers after leaving here, over 400 of them have been admitted to the International Hall of Fame. So that means that 400 students who were students has had majors or major equivalents in their armies, have become the most senior person in their military in those respective countries.

Kelly Scanlon:

Mike, there's also a Command and General Staff College Foundation at Fort Leavenworth that you are the chair of. It is established to support the college and also to provide outreach to civilians. What are some of the ways that the foundation supports the college and provides that outreach? Why is it important to involve civilians?

Michael Hockley:

It's a non-profit. If you want to equate it to a civilian organization, it would be very similar to an alumni association that would support the college that you attended. It provides support to the Commander General Staff College in terms of scholarship, outreach to the community and soldier and family support. The types of things it does, if you think about what an alumni association does, there are a lot of things that aren't covered by tuition, and so the alumni association steps in to pay for those. Well, with the foundation the United States government pays for the students to attend the college, they pay for the instruction, but there are a lot of things that the college can't pay for. So we will, as an example, bring in outside speakers, nationally known speakers to speak to each class. Typically, we have something called the Colin Powell Lecture Series.

Michael Hockley:

It started with a lecture from Colin Powell. We, in the past few years, have brought in Admiral Stavridis for a couple of presentations. He was the NATO commander. And he's very well-known, you see him oftentimes as a commentator about national security issues. And it's important for those students to get that exposure while they're at the college, instead of just being exposed to the company line. Another example is we pay for an ethics professor, and that ethics professor occupies the General Shelton Chair of Ethics. And that person comes in and provides instruction for the students. Intentionally, we try to make it someone who is not from military, so that they're getting ethics outside of just the military. And that's something that they wouldn't be able to pay for if it was just at the college.

Michael Hockley:

One of our core missions is to foster a strong relationship between the military and the private sector. We think that's important because people oftentimes just don't understand what the military does. And they have this idea of general officers, for example, as these automatons, that all they want to do is go to war. And it's kind of the MASH look at it, if you think about that popular television series. So we try to educate people about what really is going on with the military, how sophisticated and educated the military is.

Michael Hockley:

One of the things we do is sponsor a national security round table, do it twice a year. We invite 16 C-level executives and they pair up with 16 students, and they'll address some issue that that impacts national security. An example would be relationship between China and the United States. Because the college has such great depth in instructors and professors, they are able to provide subject matter experts about just about any part of the world and about how that impacts our national security. So that's one way that we try to educate the civilian community.

Michael Hockley:

One of the other things that we have is there's a world-class referenced library at the college, but it also is a community college for Leavenworth families. It's real easy for them to fund these reference materials, but it's not as easy for Fort Leavenworth to fund books targeted for young adults and children. So we have donated thousands of books over the past five years to young adults and children. So those are some of the types of things that the foundation has done.

Kelly Scanlon:

We were talking a little bit earlier about some of the training that goes on there, and some of that serves veterans very well as they assimilate back into civilian life. It offers a chance for them to bring a variety of expertise and leadership skills that transfer especially well to business. And I've worked for about 25 years with business owners, and some of the best ones, that I've known anyway, have been veterans or are veterans. Just a few stats that I was able to find, their current as of 2019, there're 2.52 million veteran majority owned businesses here in the U.S., and they employ over 5 million people. They generate revenues of over a trillion dollars and have an annual payroll of about $195 billion. And they represent about 10% of all businesses in the U.S. So, obviously there are skills that they learn in the military that are serving them well as they go on to the next phase of their lives. What are some of those skills that transfer well to the corporate world?

Michael Hockley:

Well, I think, not just at the Commander General Staff College, but the military as a whole, and especially the Army, they develop leadership skills early. As you progress in the army, you get more and more responsibility as you progress. So even someone who's not an officer, someone who's just enlisted as a private within four or five years, that person is responsible for... he might be what would be called a rifle squad leader, or he could be a fire team leader, which a rifle squad has two fire teams of about five soldiers each. They're getting leadership experience as they progress in the military. They also get problem solving skills that are developed, because no matter where the military is deployed, there are always problems and issues to address. And of course, teamwork. And those leadership traits and competencies are things that, they're invaluable for the civilian community, and it's just been ingrained in the military. So that gives a person a leg up.

Michael Hockley:

They may not know the specific technical things that you are hiring this person to do, but they pick that up quickly because they're used to doing that in the military. They go to a new assignment, they have to learn a new set of skills, but what's more important is they become leaders and they're able to develop other people as leaders. So I think that's one of the big skill sets that the military offers that people don't really think about. Those are more soft skills, but they're also hard skills. The army has over 150 different occupational specialties that offer skills and expertise in lots of fields. One of the big fields now is cyber. Cyber security, cyber training of all sorts. Engineering, finance, aviation, medical, some of our most skilled doctors, especially emergency room doctors have come from the military. And of course, combat leadership are skills that they've developed, and maybe that doesn't transfer as a hard skill, but it certainly does transfer as a soft skill, having the ability to lead people.

Michael Hockley:

One of the things that the Army University also does is it has something called the Army Credentialing Assistance Program. And that gives soldiers a credit at either junior colleges or trade schools or at colleges for the training experience that they receive in the army. So they might get 10 or 15 or 20 hours of credit if they enroll in a college after they get out of the military.

Kelly Scanlon:

One of the things that people might not think too much about is the impact of Fort Leavenworth itself on our economy. Michael, do you have any stats that show what the Fort does contribute to the local economy here in the Kansas City area?

Michael Hockley:

Yes. Fort Leavenworth has tracked some of this and these figures are probably underestimated, but Fort Leavenworth generates about $2.3 billion in annual economic impact throughout the region. And that's through salaries, through supplies and services that buys from the Kansas City area companies, travel in and out of the airports, people who come into Fort Leavenworth for training and they have to stay at the local hotels and things like that. So it's a huge impact.

Michael Hockley:

We employ about 10,000 employees. About half of those are active duty military at Fort Leavenworth, and about 70% of the military members and their families live off post in communities throughout the area, including mostly the Kansas City Metro area, which I include Leavenworth as part of that. But I even know of people in Southern Johnson County who commute to Leavenworth every day. Every year, they bring in about 1300 military students who attend the Commander General Staff College. And they also bring in about 7,000 students who travel here for shorter term courses. Those might be a two week course, or a two or three month course. And the majority of those students represent the Army's best and brightest. And they're degree'd professionals, and they're working at middle to senior management levels.

Kelly Scanlon:

General Rainey. The economic impact that Mike just talked about is really a micro impact. But the larger macro impact is that right here in the Kansas City area, the college is training officers who may eventually change the course of the world. Talk to us about that.

LTG James Rainey:

I spoke earlier of the amount of people who are educated here, men and women who go on to lead both our military and also other critical aspects of our society, big businesses, school districts, a lot of former military officers choose to continue to serve and by running for office at all different levels. And I mentioned President Eisenhower, MacArthur, George Marshall, Colin Powell, are just an example, and there's modern examples of that. And also the international officers and the high percentage of them that go on to leadership roles in their country. People that have shared values globally, global citizens, who believe in freedom, believe in democracy, believe in leaving the world better than you got it, believe in doing something with your life that benefits others is the real measure of a life well lived. All that is... it's aspirational and a little, little bit idealistic, but I believe that's true. And I think we're a small part of it.

Kelly Scanlon:

Yeah, no doubt. A much, much larger part than you're giving yourself credit there. And that really, it brings me to the next question, is that you put yourself on the line every day. And it's a very small percentage of our population, as we've discussed. So how can our listeners, most of whom are the 99%, support the 1%, to support the efforts of everything that you're doing there?

LTG James Rainey:

There's a lot of reasons why the United States is the greatest country in the world and the great country that we are, and it takes everybody, right? Farmers, teachers, healthcare people, law enforcement, emergency services, small business owners that create jobs and generate economic impact. So all that stuff goes to making America what it is. But as far as us, the U.S. military and the U.S. Army is an all volunteer force. We count on young men and women joining us, and we count on parent's trust in us that we'll take care of their sons and daughters while they serve, and we'll return them as better people. So one, we need people to believe that and to help us with that. I mean, the Army is a representation of society of America. We don't have a warrior class in our country. We don't contribute people to serve. So supporting the military in that way is a big part of it.

LTG James Rainey:

First thing I always tell people, the best thing you can do, if you're so inclined, is to keep us in your prayers, especially the men and women... There're men and women in uniform right now as we're speaking that are in harm's way guaranteeing our freedom. And sometimes people forget that. Saying, thank you, when you see a soldier in uniform anywhere. And then if someone is so inclined, there's a bunch of phenomenal organizations that do wonderful things for soldiers, veterans, wounded veterans, soldiers' families, and if anybody was inclined to do that, that's also helpful. Thank you very much.

Kelly Scanlon:

All great reminders for what we can do, although we may not be serving in the military itself, to how we can help support it. And Mike, do you have anything to add to that?

Michael Hockley:

Yes. The Commander General Staff College Foundation actually provides a lot of opportunities for people to provide support directly to the college, to interact with people at Fort Leavenworth, and to learn more about the military. And if you're interested in getting involved with the foundation, or interested in finding ways to support the military, you can contact the foundation on their website, www.CGSCfoundation.org, or you can contact me and I can help you get linked into the foundation, maybe even serve on one of our committees or on our board who provide direct support to the college.

Kelly Scanlon:

And Mike, what is the best way to get in touch with you?

Michael Hockley:

To get in touch with me they can email me at my work email, mhockley, that's H-O-C-K-L-E-Y @spencerfane, S-P-E-N-C-E-R-F-A-N-E .com.

Kelly Scanlon:

Mhockley@spencerfane.com. Thank you both again for your service. We appreciate it so much, for all that you do. And thanks for being with us on this episode of Banking on KC.

Joe Close:

This is Joe Close, president of Country Club Bank. Thank you to Lieutenant General James Rainey and Mike Hockley for joining us on this episode of Banking on KC. On this Veterans Day and every day, we thank you and all veterans for your service to our country. The United States Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth is a jewel in the Midwest. Country Club Bank is proud to have had a member of the Country Club Bank team serve on the foundation's board since its inception. The people at CGSC are a modest crowd, so we are happy to shine the spotlight on the college and the foundation in this episode. Today, as you reflect on what you can do to support the efforts of the 1% who protect us each day, we encourage you to visit the CGSC website and learn about the ways that you can do so. Thanks for tuning in this week. We're banking on you, Kansas City. Country Club Bank, member FDIC.