1985 Gardner Edgerton High School graduate and 1990 University of Kansas graduate Brent Parker recently completed graduate level studies at the National Defense College and the University of Madras in New Delhi, India. Parker received a master of Philosophy in Defense and Strategic Studies–a degree that prepares senior officers with leadership opportunities within the Department of Defense (DOD) in the United States military.
Parker took part in the Military Officer Exchange program–designed to educate, increase communication, mutual understanding, and perspective between nations in strategic and security issues. During the course, he met and listened to numerous government officials, ambassadors, and senior military leaders. Additionally, Parker met with government and defense officials from other nations (Russia, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar, Oman, Vietnam, Singapore, Sri Lanka, etc.).
The National Defense College (NDC) is currently the highest seat of strategic learning; providing instruction to senior and civil service officers in the wider aspects of higher direction and strategy of warfare. According to Parker, it acts as think tank of defense matters and holds a very important position in shaping the Indian defense outlook.
“The education will help me plan, prepare, and communicate in times of crisis; especially if the U.S. military needs to work with India and regional partners in operations centered on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief,” Parker said.
The college generally has 100 students annually: 75 civil and military officers from the Indian government and 25 from foreign nations. Parker was the only United States soldier to graduate this year.
“This was an excellent and amazing opportunity for me to learn and be emerged in India’s rich history and culture with their senior leaders in a diverse region of the world,” Parker said, “I now have a much greater strategic understanding of the issues and challenges that exist in the region and have made what I consider lifelong friends.”
Parker has served in the Army since 1989 and has held numerous command and staff positions worldwide, including service in the Middle East. He is currently an artillery officer and director of Pacific Theater Joint Land Force Component Command. He credits his small-town roots, hometown values and foundational leadership training through the University of Kansas ROTC program with helping him bond with Indian and other foreign officers in the course as well as the region.
Current Gardner Edgerton High School Principal Mark Meyer is proud to hear about the successes of all GEHS alumni and “would love to visit with Parker if he’s ever back in Gardner.”