Serving Special Operations
Serving Special Operations

This post comes from Global SOF Foundation (GSF)
President and CEO, Stu Bradin.

The GSF is well into our 6th year and we are working hard to support the Special Operations community. As a professional association, the GSF has a mandate to educate policymakers–one of the biggest challenges I have ever faced…

Getting Schooled by Congress

If you want to fix anything in SOF you have to have the support of U.S. Congress. USSOCOM is the only congressionally mandated 4-star headquarters in history, and several SOF champions like Jim Locher and Senators Nunn and Cohen forced that to happen. [Listen to our Podcast with Jim Locher to learn more.]

Since the birth of the office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict (ASD / SOLIC) and USSOCOM, the education of policymakers has been good, but not on par with the Services. 

In 2014, in the early days of the GSF, the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) staffers asked us if we would produce an annual “platform document” on SOF. The Services all use their professional associations to help them “message” their legislative desires. I did not really understand much about DC, so I pushed back and asked if anyone would read anything we drafted. It was at this point I got schooled.

The staffers explained that each congressional representative has a young staffer–often with no military experience–as their military legislative assistant. They felt that all of those young staffers could use a document that helped them better understand the needs of special operations. 

In 2015, the GSF developed our first platform document called “SOF Imperatives”, and we have produced one every year since.

Serving Special Operations
Five years of Imperatives for SOF are listed on our website!

See all of the editions of the document on our website.

Changing things up in 2020

In 2020 we are changing it up and doing something different–very different. What we lacked in our quest to educate congress on SOF matters was an event that pulled in the right policymakers, along with the right people from military, industry, and academia. On 12 February 2020, we are hosting the first Annual SOF Imperatives Forum at the Capitol Visitors Center. 

We have partnered with Navigators Global, a GSF Corporate Partner, to produce an amazing agenda. Usually I just highlight a few of the speakers we’re most excited about, but this list is so good that I need to include everyone:

  • Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), Chair, Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Chair, Senate SOF Caucus
  • Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI), Ranking Member, Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Chair, Senate SOF Caucus
  • Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee
  • Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Ranking Member, House Armed Services Emerging Threats Subcommittee
  • Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA), Co-Chair, Congressional SOF Caucus
  • Lt Gen (Ret) Thomas Trask
  • Christopher Miller, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Special Operations and Combating Terrorism, U.S. Department of Defense
  • Catherine Herridge, CBS News 
Serving Special Operations
  • Michael Lumpkin, Former ASD SO/LIC
  • Brian Sheridan, Former ASD SO/LIC
  • Mark Mitchell, Former ASD SO/LIC
  • Lori Larsen, Chief Strategy Officer, Celestar Corporation
  • Robb Wong, Associate Administrator, Office of Government Contracting and Business Development, Small Business Administration
  • Mike McWilliams, Small Business Program Manager, Office of Small Business Programs, U.S. Department of the Air Force
  • Kim Buehler, Director, Office of Small Business Programs, U.S. Department of the Army
  • Nand Mulchandani, Chief Technology Officer, Joint Artificial Intelligence Center
  • Lt Gen James Slife, Commander, Air Force Special Operations Command
  • LTG (Ret) John Mulholland
  • Rep. Mike Waltz (R-FL)
  • Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO)

That is a long list of great people that support SOF and I challenge you to find a better venue with a better agenda to support SOF. 

Unveiling the SOF Imperatives for 2020

The 2020 Imperatives for SOF document is now complete! 

As with every year, we solicited input from our community–especially those who are still on Active Duty service–to gain insights into the top issues in the force. Round tables, surveys, and even the conversations we have at events all contribute to the data collection process each year.

Serving Special Operations
Here’s a preview of the Imperatives for 2020!

It hits issues in a few key topic areas:

  • Strategic
  • Support to Training, Operations, and Readiness
  • Support to the Force
  • Maritime Forces
  • Land Forces
  • Aviation

We’ll be handing out print copies of the document at the SOF Imperatives Forum for the official 2020 document launch, so make sure you’re there to get yours.

Global SOF members and partners will receive access to digital copies later this month.

Come join us for the SOF Imperatives Forum and help us shape the future. Register ASAP!

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