(U.S. Air Force photo)

Defending defense theme of symposium

Threats to the United States’ national security and to the forces that defend against them will be examined during a symposium staged by the National Security/Foreign Relations Division of The American Legion during the Legion’s 94th annual convention in Indianapolis.

Symposium speakers include Mackenzie Eaglen, Resident Fellow at the Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies, American Enterprise Institute. Her talk, "Defending the Defense Budget," will concentrate on sequestration: the scheduled massive cuts to defense spending that, according to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, "would be disastrous in terms of our national defense."

Ike Skelton, former chairman of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, will address "Strategic Threats" and speak of current and predicted dangers to the safety and security of the nation. Skelton, a longtime Legion ally, will be presented with The American Legion Patriot Award during the event.

Edward Dyer, vice president of Military Programs, Allison Transmission, Inc., will speak on behalf of defense contractors and the vital importance of an strong domestic industrial base to national readiness. His company builds transmissions for military combat, tactical and support wheeled vehicles.

Repeating a popular and provocative presentation from last year’s symposium will be U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Joseph Gallagher III. The premise of his "War Powers and the Constitution" talk is that the constitutional division of war powers between the Congress and the president has been largely ignored by presidents since the Vietnam War. This, argues Gallagher, sets a potentially harmful precedent. Gallagher’s presentation is based upon his 2011 U.S. Army War College Master’s Thesis: "Unconstitutional War: Strategic Risk in the Age of Congressional Abdication."

The speakers will participate in a panel Q&A session following their presentations. Legion.org will stream the symposium live from 1-4 p.m.

The National Security/Foreign Relations Symposium is set for August 27 from 1-4:30 p.m. in the Indiana Convention Center, Rooms 205-207.