Military Affairs Committee
Greetings Peach County! A message from the Peach MAC Chairman
We are excited to announce that the Peach MAC is in the process of reconstituting from the effects of the pandemic and has begun to reenergize its efforts to leverage Peach County’s location and innate talent. The paragraphs below summarize the initial efforts; however, we would like to solicit your thoughts and your membership to better leverage our way ahead. Please reach out if you are interested in becoming a Peach MAC member.
The Peach MAC Vision. The Peach MAC vision forecasts “Peach County: A Center of Excellence for education, technology, and cybersecurity by 2035”.
The current members of the Peach MAC see much untapped potential in Peach County with both Fort Valley and Byron being centrally postured proximate to major roadways, educational entities, and military organizations. The missing link to tapping into this untapped potential is an agreed upon approach to “Peach County 2035” and its next iteration “Peach County 2050”. The political, business, educational, and community leadership are invited to join us as we begin efforts to attain the vision.
Seeking a Broader Perspective. Historically the Peach MAC has been almost solely focused on Robins Air Force Base due to its proximity and economic impact. We decided to broaden our perspective to include the Army because we have an Army Reserve unit in Fort Valley, we are in a central location as Army units transit Highway 96 to and from Fort Benning and Fort Stewart, and because Fort Gorden in Augusta is the Army’s Center of Excellence for all things signal and cyber related. As we continue to reenergize our efforts we plan to engage both services as well as our elected officials to posture Peach County for more military-related growth.
Education. Futurists are indicating that education will radically evolve over the next decade. The value of college degrees will lessen as lifespans increase, retirement ages increase into the 90s or higher, and the degrees become outdated; life-long learning will be the new norm as degrees will come with “best by” dates. College degrees are so common now that they no longer differentiate the best talent. To augment our education efforts the Peach MAC plans to work with the military to determine the value of specific certifications that would accompany degree attainment.
In addition to the above, the Peach MAC plans to work with the local school system and the local technical colleges to determine what vocational crafts/trades can be pipelined to better posture our community for local military job opportunities. As part of this we plan to reconnect with the Human Resources department at Robins to ensure our efforts are aligned to their projected future requirements.
In summary, the Peach MAC sees the need to anticipate today what the future requirements will be in all areas of education simply because of the expected shift in, and loss of, current jobs: The world of work is radically changing and it is expected that at least half of today’s jobs will no longer exist within the next 3-5 years as work requirements change. As lifespans increase the spin-off to this could be how we engage those who may be working beyond their 90s. Consider that it is projected that today’s 10–11-year-old cohort could live into their 150s. We are not prepared for this longevity. Our systems are not prepared for this either.
Technology and Cyber Security. Shifts in technology are the key drivers of obsolete education and the expected radical change in job requirements. Industry experts now talk beyond the Internet of Things as “Industry 4.0” becomes the new buzz phrase. This new concept includes all things technology, e.g., the expansion of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and dark factories (no humans required!). In the midst of this is the ever-growing need for cyber security skilled individuals. The Peach MAC plans to work this with both Robins and Fort Gorden to determine how we can better posture educational efforts locally. The vision is to have Peach County know as a Center of Excellence for Cyber Security as we team with the military, FVSU, and other major educational institutions. Per the above education discussion gaining tailored certifications could be one specific career path for our community members.
Collaboration. Successfully attaining the Peach MAC vision will require collaboration and teaming with numerous parties both internal and external to our community. We are soliciting new members as well as opportunities to meet and discuss our thoughts with your organization. Please reach out to us in both regards if we may be of assistance. In the interim just recognize that efforts are underway to effect the vision.
Dale Foster, DSL
Soldier, COL (Ret)
US Army - Active Duty, GaARNG, & Army Reserve