He won’t turn 17 until later this month, but Anthony Hudson knows where he wants to end up in life.
“I want my career to end with being the commanding general of all the military police,” said Anthony Hudson, an incoming junior at Lee’s Summit High School. “I have many family members who were in the military, including my grandpa and my great uncle, who are my biggest inspirations. My goal is to get into West Point and study the military code of law and justice. Then I would be on my way to earn the ranks to get to my ending goal.
“I have many backup plans but this is the number one.”
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This summer, Hudson moved a little closer to his ultimate objective by spending a week in Washington D.C. at the National Youth Leadership Forum: National Security — Diplomacy, Intelligence and Defense. The forum, held June 25-30, introduced Hudson and about 370 other students to career options while helping them with the critical-thinking, leadership and public speaking skills needed to make decisions during a national crisis or conflict.
He toured the Capitol and Naval Academy and was tapped with three others to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.
Also on the agenda was a mock national security crisis.
“In the simulation, a drug cartel was loose in Latin America and we had to control them while increasing amounts of illegal drugs were coming through our southern border,” Hudson said by email.
The roughly two dozen students in his group were assigned government jobs. Hudson took on two “commanding general” posts, working under the defense secretary to deploy troops where they were most needed.
“For every mission that we wanted to complete, we had to have all three branches of government approve our mission,” he said. “In the end we learned that all these jobs of government are not even close to being easy, and we only had one situation to take care of.”
Government logjams, he said, are caused by “long meaningful discussions that are deciding the best fate of our nation.”
At Lee’s Summit High, Hudson is vice corps commander for Air Force JROTC and participates in drumline and the Student Senate. He learned about the conference through a mailing that caught his attention because it was from a general on Pennsylvania Avenue.
“Being the military nut that I am,” he said, “I immediately opened the mail with excitement to read that I had been invited to Washington D.C. to participate in a national security camp.”
The most important thing Hudson learned there was that leaders must be confident about everything they do and with everyone they meet.
“You send a different message to people when you address someone in a confident manner.”
He also knows that confidence cannot be confused with arrogance, or insisting that you have all the answers.
“The second biggest thing I learned was that you have to learn to work with new people. New people bring new strategies that you may have never thought of before, and together you can make a decision that is a combination of many cultures and ideals.”
Through his career interests and stint in Washington, Hudson likely has thought more about terrorism than many people his age.
“There are multiple kinds of terrorism, but the one we think of most is the attacks that we can see, such as big trucks running into crowds of people,” he said. “The big reason that we think about these the most is because the media likes to talk about these — they are a good story to share.”
Hudson believes more attention should be paid to cyber security.
“Our whole social network relies on a very big picture of things we don’t even think about. These things such as satellites are not talked about nearly enough in our media. Instead, we are too focused on bashing the other side and debating who is the right one.”
The problem will be addressed, he believes, when people understand that none of the parties is correct, but answers can be found by deciding together “together for a nation that was built together.”
“Having more than two sides to politics is how we have become the great nation that we are today,” he said.