It’s further proof that NACDS conferences present speakers who are true news-makers.

Just two days after speaking with NACDS Annual Meeting attendees, The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed today by former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta that challenges the nation’s leaders on military readiness and related budgetary matters.

“In a troubled world, both our friends and our enemies will take note if we reduce our military readiness,” Panetta wrote in The Wall Street Journal. “No one questions the capability of our troops, our weaponry or our technology. What they do question is whether our democracy can function effectively to ensure our strength.”

The op-ed reflects the tone of Panetta’s remarks during an NACDS Annual Meeting Business Program on Tuesday. During those remarks, Panetta contrasted the courage of the men and women in the military – and their families – who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, with the lack of political courage by those in government who seem to dodge tough decisions regarding the nation’s finances.

“I have never in 50 years seen Washington as partisan and as divided as it is,” Panetta said during his NACDS Annual Meeting remarks – remarks that drew a standing ovation from attendees.

See NACDS-TV for brief footage from Panetta’s remarks and from an on-camera interview.