Every two years since 1969, the US chief of naval operations has invited his global navy and coast guard counterparts to attend a three-day, closed-door symposium on seapower.
Between Sept. 20-23, representatives from more than 100 nations answered the call from Adm. John Richardson and descended on the Naval War College in Newport, R.I. (Full disclosure: we were invited to provide exclusive video coverage of the event.)
To critics, meetings like these amount to little more than military tourism, junkets for senior leaders and their spouses.
But the reality is: interpersonal relationships are critical among all leaders, especially military ones that hold jobs for a few years at a time. Every little bit helps build a network of bridges for use during future crises when knowing the guy on the other end of the phone makes all the difference. This year, spouses and families were encouraged to attend as well, expanding opportunities for networking beyond those in uniform.