For us, the week before Thanksgiving usually means we’re in North Carolina in the greater Fort Bragg area, putting on Modern Warfare Week. It’s an event that gets bigger every year, and includes a Demo Day with things that go boom, an expo hall, and a Symposium that’s co-sponsored by U.S. Army Special Operations Command (better known as USASOC).
As with many things this year, that full event was postponed (to April 2021, check it out here)… but we still wanted to get some conversation going. So we had a mini-Symposium and we made it virtual.
Legacy, Culture, and Our Future
Although it was a shortened event, we didn’t hold back on the speakers. With the help of USASOC, we were able to get a very impressive lineup, including:
- The Honorable Ryan McCarthy, Secretary of the United States Army
- GEN (Ret.) Tony Thomas, Former USSOCOM Commander
- LTG Fran Beaudette, Commanding General, U.S. Army Special Operations Command (Bio)
- COL Molly Solsbury (Bio)
- LTC (Ret.) Angela Greenwald (Bio)
- CW4 (Ret.) Mike Durant (Bio)
- CSM (Ret.) Rick Lamb (Bio)
- Dr. Jonathan Schroden (Bio)
Plus, our steadfast VP and Board Member, Dr. Keenan Yoho, served as our Master of Ceremonies!
USASOC’s leadership chose the theme for the event: “Legacy, Culture, and Our Future,” and the speakers embody that theme.
We had SOF Legends like CW4 (Ret) Durant and CSM (Ret) Lamb who have contributed to the U.S. SOF legacy. They spoke of their personal experiences and how they feel SOF has changed (or not changed) over the course of their careers.
Recently retired leaders like GEN (Ret) Thomas and LTC (Ret) Greenewald have helped shape our current culture. Their leadership, both at the highest levels and at smaller, cross-functional units, leaves a lasting impact on both the U.S. and our Partner Nations.
Looking to the future, we were honored to have Secretary McCarthy, LTG Beaudette, and COL Solsbury as current leaders impacting the direction of the future fight for special operations. They talked about their faith in our people, the importance of nurturing the talent in our force, and how “incredibly important” the work being done by SOF is for the future.
This event was held under Chatham House Rule, so we are limited on what we can share. But we can tell you that if you weren’t there, you missed out on a great event, and you’ll have to make sure you tune in next time…
It Really Makes You Think…
As we said, usually this is a full week event. We did a shortened version of the Symposium, but we decided not to attempt the Demo Day or Expo in a virtual format. We really like our industry presenters to get the biggest bang (sometimes literally) for their buck on those events, so we pushed to April 2021.
One supplemental event we were able to have, however, was a virtual SOF for Life Transition Seminar, hosted by The Honor Foundation.
We do these periodically and they are optimized for members of SOF and SOF support who are +/- 2 years from their separation from Active Duty.
“It was awesome, it really makes you think about what you want to do,” said retiring SFC Dennis Moore, one of the 60 virtual seminar participants (and also our current SkillBridge intern). The course makes SOF Veterans reflect on what type of career would be meaningful to them after their Service.
The Honor Foundation’s full 12-week course is much more intensive and detailed than the four hour seminar, and we strongly encourage everyone who takes the Seminar to apply for the full course (which can be completed in select SOF hubs in the U.S. OR virtually anywhere).
“I’ll definitely be applying for the full course,” Dennis added.
We are incredibly thankful to everyone who helped us put on this virtual Symposium, especially:
- USASOC’s leadership and planning team for being great partners and putting together a great speaker lineup
- Bank of America for serving as our Title Sponsor for the Symposium
- The Honor Foundation for executing another excellent SOF for Life Seminar
- RGI for putting together our virtual event platform and handling all of our timelines and requests
- Our amazing speakers for taking the time to share their insights
- The 300+ members of our community who attended!
We are optimistic that the next time we conduct a Modern Warfare Week, it will be in person… and we hope to see you there!!