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Dustin Monke represents state at 63rd U.S.Army War College

Dustin Monke of Bismarck, N.D. (front row, center) posed with seminar colleagues from the U.S. military, El Salvador and Mali during the Army War College National Security Seminar, June 5-8, 2017. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army

A New England High School graduate participated in the U.S. Army War College's 63rd annual National Security Seminar in Carlisle, Penn., earlier this month.

"The U.S. Army War College has a detailed selection process," Monke said in an email. "You have to be nominated to first even be considered. My cousin, Dr. Lon Lutz of Minneapolis (a Reeder native) attended in 2016 and nominated me by sending in my application. I honestly thought it was a longshot that I'd even be accepted, so when I received an email earlier this year saying that I'd been accepted, it was quite a shock."

Monke is the former managing editor of The Dickinson Press and now serves as the director of marketing and information for the North Dakota Department of Agriculture. He was the only North Dakotan to attend the seminar among 148 business, government, academic and community leaders selected to take part in the week-long seminar alongside students attending the college.

Monke said he was surprised how little many people knew about North Dakota.

"I found myself giving overviews on everything from the crops we produce in North Dakota to how the state's energy industry works, and even how many people live in our state," he said. "As a strong advocate of how great our state is, I was glad to spread some of the good news about North Dakota."

Monke was able to discuss with senior U.S. military leaders a civilian perspective and provide them with a better understanding of the society the Army serves. The seminar was a capstone of the college's 10-month curriculum before the seniors graduated with a masters in Strategic Studies.

A creative director from Virginia, a bank chairman from Texas and another American citizen were among those invited to join the special academic seminar and exchange thoughts about national security topics in the capstone phase of the graduate program.