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Santa Monica Councilwoman Reed to Attend National Security Seminar

May 07, 1987|TRACEY KAPLAN | Times Staff Writer

The Santa Monica City Council has agreed to allow Councilwoman Christine E. Reed to spend $600 of her travel budget to attend a national security seminar at the U. S. Army War College in Pennsylvania.

Council members, who earn $50 a month, are alloted $2,000 annually for council-related travel expenses, such as attending a National Council of Mayors convention. When a proposed trip is not sponsored by an approved organization, the City Council must grant permission for the expenditure.

The War College, a premier training ground for selected career officers, will pay for Reed's room and board while she attends its 33rd National Security Seminar in June.

Invited to Attend

Reed is one of a small but diverse group, including city officials, business people and educators, invited by the Army from all over the country to participate in the five-day conference in Carlisle, Pa.

"This is a significant learning opportunity and we expect a full report," Mayor James P. Conn said Tuesday in support of Reed's request. "As a city with its own foreign policy, we ought to know what the other folks are thinking about."

Conn's comment about the council's "foreign policy" refers to a period in early 1980s when the council took stands on international issues. It endorsed Israel's invasion of Lebanon and the nuclear freeze and debated opposing the Nicaraguan rebels, called contras, in El Salvador.

Although the council rarely gets involved in such issues these days, Reed said she welcomes the opportunity to tell the Army what the council thinks of the federal defense budget.

"I think the federal government has gone berserk in spending so much on defense at the expense of domestic spending," said Reed, who was mayor of Santa Monica from 1984 to 1986. "The Army needs to hear from some assertive women who don't agree with some parts of its defense policy."

'Speak for Peace'

Councilman David B. Finkel went a step further. "I expect you to speak out for peace and against nuclear testing," he said to Reed.

Col. Jose A. Muratti, the Army officer in charge of organizing the seminar, said the 290 students enrolled in the War College's one-year program could benefit from hearing Reed's point of view.

"Twenty percent of our students will go on to be generals, and most of them will go to the Pentagon next year where they'll be in a position to advise senior officials," Muratti said. "We want them to know that not everybody out there agrees with the defense budget."

Reed will have an opportunity to express her views each day when the conferees split up into small groups to discuss international issues. The conference program also includes speeches by Vernon Walters, U. S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Luncheon lecture topics include "Opposing Strategies in Nicaragua: An Analysis of Strategic Options," "The Challenge of International Terrorism" and "Styles of Presidential Leadership: Carter and Reagan."

Nominated to Attend

Muratti said Reed was one of 500 people nominated by former seminar participants to attend the seminar. The college invites 150 of the nominees to attend.

Judith H. Stiehm, vice provost of the University of Southern California and a political science professor who attended the seminar last year, said she nominated Reed.

"She is my neighbor, she was recently my mayor and we need to do something about the impression people have that women know less than men about national security issues," Stiehm said.

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