One of the biggest and most impactful programs at the Foundation is our SOF Imperatives.
Each year since 2015, the Foundation surveys the U.S.-based community to determine what issues are most prevalent to the Active Duty and recently retired members of SOF. We then take the responses to the survey and turn the topics into a structured SOF Imperatives document, used to educate U.S. policymakers on the critical issues facing U.S. SOF.
In 2020, we added a new layer of SOF Imperative events. It started in February 2020 with a Forum on Capitol Hill. It brought together nearly 200 attendees and speakers from Congress, SOF Component Commands, the DoD, and more.
It was a high-value, high-quality series of panels and keynotes, and those in attendance were excited about what would come next… until we learned that the next thing would be a year-long COVID lockdown!
But we didn’t let that slow us down, and we revectored our FY2021 Imperatives plans to fit into a virtual world.
The Roundtable Build-Up
Our plan going into the fiscal year was to hold quarterly SOF Imperatives Roundtables that were only open to Military, Government, and Corporate Partners… and we actually think that COVID forcing us to make these meetings virtual made them *more* successful.
The barriers caused by hosting a physical event in DC were quickly removed, and we were able to bring 50-200 members of the community to join these three (so far) virtual discussions:
- Fall Roundtable: This two-hour event included remarks and Q&A with Congressmen Mike Waltz, Jason Crow, and Mark Green, as well as reps from the HASC and ASD SO/LIC.
- Winter Roundtable: The February session featured a lively discussion between The Honorable Chris Miller and journalist Catherine Herridge and a senior leader conversation with the Vice Commander of USSOCOM.
- Spring Roundtable: The most recent event was a deep dive with Representative Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Intelligence and Special Operations for the House Armed Services Committee.
Each event, and each session within, brought in different viewpoints on elements from our SOF Imperatives, including potential courses of action to solve the presented issues.
The roundtables have all been stepping stones toward this year’s “big” event, our second SOF Imperatives Forum.
Join us on June 16th
Due to a series of unforeseen factors (just kidding, it was because of COVID), we weren’t able to hold our 2nd Annual SOF Imperatives Forum on Capitol Hill in Feb 2021 as we originally envisioned in the “before times.”
However, these conversations are incredibly important, and we wanted to dedicate a full day to the Forum, even if it’s happening virtually. Which it is– on June 16th from 0900 – 1600 ET.
Speakers include Senators and Representatives, former Assistant Secretaries of Defense for Special Operations / Low-Intensity Conflict (ASD SO/LICs), current Component Commanders, and decision-makers in the future of SOF technology.
Here’s a look at the full agenda.
- Keynote Speaker – Senator Joni Ernst, Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, Senate Armed Services Committee; Co-Chair, Senate SOF Caucus
- Keynote Speaker – Ms. Melissa Dalton, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans, and Capabilities
- Senior Leader Conversation: The Foundation’s own COO, Meaghan Keeler-Pettigrew, will moderate this conversation with a former ASD SO/LIC and one of the men who helped establish the role. We’ve recorded podcasts with both gentlemen… listen in ahead of time.
- Panel – The State of the Force: Global SOF Advisor Linda Robinson will moderate this conversation with two current SOF Component Commanders to get their views on the state of Air Force and Army special operations.
- LTG Fran M. Beaudette, Commanding General, USASOC
- Lt. Gen. James Slife, Commander, AFSOC
- Senior Leader Conversation: Former USSOCOM Vice Commander and decorated Air Force Pilot Lt. Gen. (Ret) Tom Trask will hold a conversation with Representatives Adam Smith and Mike Rogers, both members of defense-focused committees in the House.
- Representative Adam Smith, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee
- Representative Mike Rogers, Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee
- Panel – The Future of Technology in Special Operations: The final panel of the event will be hosted by Global SOF Advisory Council Member LTG (Ret) Mike Nagata. The panelists are all key stakeholders for SOF technology.
- Dr. Lisa Costa, Chief Information Officer, USSOCOM
- LtGen Dennis A. Crall, Director, Joint Staff J6
- Mr. Nand Mulchandani, CTO, Joint Artificial Intelligence Center
In order to attend this event, you must register in advance. This is clearly a series of speakers and topics that you shouldn’t miss if you have any investment in the SOF community… so don’t wait; register today!