AMU Editor's Pick Original Space

35th Annual Space Symposium Brings World Together Around One Unifying Issue

By Glynn Cosker
Contributor, In Space News
Managing Editor, 
In Homeland Security

The 35th annual Space Symposium takes place in Colorado Springs, Colorado, April 8 through April 11, 2019.

Space Symposium Covers Every Space Community Sector

The Space Symposium, produced each year by the Space Foundation, is one of the foremost assemblies of space professionals in the world, with more than 9,000 people expected to attend from every sector within the space community – including national security and intelligence organizations, cyber security organizations, colleges and universities, space entrepreneurs, private space travel providers, and many more.

American Military University

One of the universities featured at the Space Symposium is American Military University (AMU). Dr. Nicole Drumhiller, Program Director of Intelligence Studies for AMU’s School of Security and Global Studies, is a speaker at one of the many sessions at this year’s event. Dr. Drumhiller is part of a three-person panel of speakers for a session on April 10 entitled: “Educating the Space Warriors: Partnering in the New Race for Space.” Joining Dr. Drumhiller is Dr. Michelle Watts, Faculty Director for the AMU’s School of Security and Global Studies. The session focuses on the educational and instructional infrastructure needed to grow the U.S. Space Force – the proposed new branch of the U.S. Military. The panel will discuss the resource challenges associated with a Space Force and highlight possible solutions for some of those challenges.

Col. Kevin R. Kick will join Dr. Drumhiller and Dr. Watts on the panel. Col. Kick’s 30-year military career includes numerous assignments in the United States Army and Colorado National Guard – along with multiple overseas deployments and other active-duty missions.

“AMU’s School of Security and Global Studies has a large population of current and former military members who have a deep understanding of policy and the inner workings of the Department of Defense,” stated Dr. Mark Riccardi, Vice President and Dean for the School of Security and Global Studies at AMU. “The Space Symposium is the premiere event that brings together defense, education, business, think tanks and many others into a single forum to share ideas and learn. Senior leaders from government and industry will attend and current and projected policy decisions will be discussed.”

The Space Foundation

The Space Symposium’s organizers, The Space Foundation, is a global, nonprofit advocate for the advancement of space-related activities, space professionals and education. Founded in 1983, the Space Foundation develops space awareness for government, the private sector, and the public, and is a leader in educational programs that bring space into the classroom and major industry events.

“Anytime you can bring the world together, especially around one unifying issue, it’s a pretty special experience,” said Rich Cooper, Vice President of Strategic Communications and Outreach with the Space Foundation. “We’ve looked to widen the aperture of Space Symposium to bring more talent and issues – internationally, economically, technically and generationally – to drive the conversations and insights we need to have to have a fully space aware public.”

Distance Learning and Collaborative Missions

“Teachers are, without a doubt, the best ambassadors for space on the planet,” said Mr. Cooper. “They are the people standing at the front of a classroom who can answer many of those first questions any of us have ever had about the sun, planets, stars, and Earth. They help turn wonder and curiosity into the pursuit of knowledge … Given the fact we work so closely with the Space Community, it also gives us access to the tools and technologies that can allow for distance learning – as well as collaborative missions from different schools and countries. That has included experiences such as classrooms in India programming and driving rovers in our Mars Yard in real time.”

Along with Dr. Drumhiller and Dr. Watts, other speakers at this year’s Space Symposium include Lt. Col. Anne C. McClain (NASA astronaut), Brig. Gen. DeAnna M. Burt (Director of Operations and Communications, Air Force Space Command), Lee W. Rosen (Vice President, Customer Operations & Integration, SpaceX), Dr. Johann-Dietrich Wörner (Director General, European Space Agency), and more than 150 others.

Visit the Space Symposium’s website for more details on the agenda, sessions, speakers and more. Stay tuned to In Space News for updates on this event.

About the Panelists:

Michelle Watts is a faculty director for American Military University. In addition to supervising faculty members, she teaches courses on international relations, international development, and Latin American Studies online. Michelle is an advisor to the Gamma Omega chapter of the Sigma Iota Rho international relations honor society. She has obtained several grants to conduct research in Latin America, in recent years focusing on indigenous people.

Dr. Nicole Drumhiller is the program director of Intelligence Studies for American Public University System’s School of Security and Global Studies. In addition, she currently serves as president of the Center on Transnational Crime and Political Conflict, an educational non-profit organization, and is an editorial board member for the peer-reviewed Journal of Global Security and Intelligence Studies and advisory board member for the Operative Intelligence Research Center in Rome. Dr. Drumhiller has published works focused on group behavior, political leadership, intelligence, cybersecurity and international relations, and presented at professional conferences including the International Society of Political Psychology, International Studies Association, Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, and Pacific Northwest Political Science Association.

COL Kevin Kick assumed the duties as the Director of Plans and Strategy for the Colorado Army National Guard in Jan 2019.  Prior to this assignment, he served as the sixth commander for the 100th Missile Defense Brigade (GMD), Colorado Army National Guard, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command from September 2016 to December 2018. COL Kick received his commission in the Army through Reserve Officers Training Corps in 1992 at Indiana University of Pennsylvania after serving four years as an enlisted Soldier. His 30-year military career includes multiple command and staff assignments in the United States Army and Colorado National Guard with multiple overseas deployments and National Guard State Active Duty missions.

Wes O'Donnell

Wes O’Donnell is an Army and Air Force veteran and writer covering military and tech topics. As a sought-after professional speaker, Wes has presented at U.S. Air Force Academy, Fortune 500 companies, and TEDx, covering trending topics from data visualization to leadership and veterans’ advocacy. As a filmmaker, he directed the award-winning short film, “Memorial Day.”

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