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National Security Forum

Each year since 1954, the Air War College, on behalf of the Secretary of the Air Force, has hosted approximately 150 civilians from across the country at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, AL. The National Security Forum began as an expansion of Civilian Outreach Seminars held beginning in 1947, when the Air War College first opened its doors as the premier senior professional military education institution for the United States Air Force.

Through its program, the NSF aims to share perspectives between key civic leaders, senior military officers, and highly experienced government civilians on current and future topics pertaining to strategic leadership, strategy, national security decision making, warfighting, and global security. The objective of the NSF is to broaden attendees’ perspectives and attain a mutual understanding on topics of interest concerning diplomatic, information, military, economic, and cultural instruments of power in a lecture and seminar environment with NSF guests and alumni, AWC students and faculty, senior multinational military officers and highly experiences government civilians. Attendees can expect lecture and seminar discussions to include a wide range of viewpoints on current national security strategy and national military strategy topics including, of course, the role of airpower. There are optional noontime lectures covering a wide variety of national security subjects.

The NSF program lasts three days and is scheduled, usually, in the third week in May.

Attendees in the past have had a wide range of professions:

  • Corporate executives
  • Clergy
  • Community volunteers
  • Educators, K-University
  • Financial analysts
  • Legal officials
  • Media representatives
  • Medical personnel
  • State and local government
  • Industry associations executives


Participants must be nominated by Air Force Headquarters or Air Force Wings, by AWC students or faculty, or by prior NSF attendees or senior government officials. Nominations are accepted from 1 September through 30 November for the upcoming spring NSF. Invitations are sent in early spring. Registration is $175 per person (which covers most meals) and housing on base is from $70 per night.


For more information, please contact the Director of the National Security Forum:

People Are Talking About NSF

“The time I spent at the Air War College was extremely rewarding. The information we learned, the speeches we heard, the conversation in smaller groups, exceeded any expectation I had before going to Montgomery. The sense of history, the non-political analysis of current events, reinforced my prior belief that our military is well-run and by very good people. Anyone with an opportunity to go, I can only say, ‘Go!’ To the officers who participated: thank you. To the civilians who attended: thank you.  Each group added so much to the learning experience.” Chip Williams, CLU, ChFC, CFP, Branch Manager, Williams Financial Services, Inc., FL

“The NSF is a most memorable, rare, and unparalleled experience—one not to be missed.” Julia Miller, Former Mayor, Sunnyvale, CA

“The National Security Forum at The Air War College was enlightening on so many levels. I left with more understanding of and a deeper respect for the military, military families, and our collaboration with allies. ‘Freedom is not Free’ and must be protected and treasured.” Ernie C'de Baca, President & CEO, Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce

“I first attended the NSF at the Air War College in 2015. l’ve returned as an alumni the last three years. l’ve learned so much at the seminars, but the classroom discussions with our future leaders have been the most enlightening. Meeting the officers from other countries has also helped me understand how other nations feel about our country and recent policies. I have recommended a friend each year and all have been attended. They have all thanked me and said it gave them a better understanding of our Air Force and the exceptional men and women who serve our great country.” Dennis Pike, Pike and Preston, Inc.

“The AWC NSF was one of the most rewarding and comprehensive programs to help civilians understand our national strategy on a host of military, economic and cultural topics. I am truly appreciative on a personal and professional level for the opportunity to attend and contribute to the amazing forum. It was an honor to interact and share ideas with our future military leaders.” Richard Stafford, President & Chief Executive Officer

“The National Security Forum and the Air War College have done a great job in bringing military and defense professionals together in a program with the public to inform and share with us the policies and issues facing our great nation. It was also great to meet so many of the special attendees at the National Security Forum with whom I participated and from whom I learned so much. I look forward to having the opportunity to be a part of this program in the future.” Bruce Smith, CFO Premier Financial Group, Inc., Rotarian and Past President of the Eureka Rotary

“The knowledge I received and the connections I have made gave me the confidence to go back to my community and make a greater impact. I could not have asked for a better experience.” Matthew Pace, CEO, Pace PC Solutions, IT and Cybersecurity 

“The NSF was an amazing opportunity, and I am so grateful that I was able to attend. The speakers, both plenary and break-out, were informative and thought-provoking. The books and suggested reading materials provided during the forum were interesting (I am still working through them). The students in my group that were finishing Air War College were so impressive! The group discussions were my favorite part of each day because of the topics chosen, questions asked, and respectful exchange of ideas. My expectations for the week were exceeded!” Alice Floyd    

“My first time at the 2018 Air War College was enlightening. Current world political and military issues were covered in the general sessions, and we learned how our modern Air Force works to protect our way of life in America. The daily afternoon sessions in our small groups were the best of an overall thought-provoking experience. It was illuminating getting to know our fellow members in a cordial environment.” Bill Newman, Mayor, Lincoln County, TN

“It was an awesome experience being around our growing leaders of tomorrow. Outstanding men & woman!” James Archer, Texas

“One of the best experiences for me to aid in understand in both the threats to the US and to gain a better understand of our military.” Gary F. Simmons

“In my first career as a law enforcement officer, I had always been a tactical thinker. The National Security Forum opened my eyes to just how important strategic thinking is. If asked by someone nominated to attend the forum, I would enthusiastically recommend they attend.” Glenn Barham, Wichita Falls, TX 

“The AWC NSF imparts accurate, incisive, and in-depth knowledge of world situations through interactions with accomplished individuals who have been there.” Catherine Crabtree