On June 5-6, 2013, the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis (IFPA) and the International Security Studies Program of The Fletcher School of Tufts University will convene a high-level conference in Washington, D.C., in cooperation with U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). “Positioning Special Operations Forces for Global Challenges” will be held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in downtown Washington, D.C. (1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW). This will be the fortieth IFPA-Fletcher Conference on National Security Strategy and Policy, in a series widely recognized as one of the nation’s premier strategic dialogues.
This meeting will include top U.S. and allied/partner country officials, senior military commanders, Congressional leaders, academic-policy specialists and other non-governmental experts for a two-day exchange on the growing importance of special operations forces (SOF) for twenty-first-century security. Among the topics to be addressed are the role of SOF in combatting transnational threats, enhancing the ability of USSOCOM and the Geographic Combatant Commands (GCCs) to work with allies and partners to build essential SOF capabilities, and new opportunities for USSOCOM and the Department of Defense (DoD) to collaborate with the broader U.S. “whole of government” community, the private sector, intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and other civil and military partners to fashion a more robust SOF network to meet global challenges.
Special attention will also be given to the question of how best to leverage SOF capabilities as a key tool for crisis prevention and crisis response in an era of tighter defense budgets and post-Afghanistan military downsizing and force restructuring. Keynote speakers include the Honorable Ashton B. Carter, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense and Congressman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, Chairman, U.S. House Armed Services Committee. Admiral William McRaven, USN, commander, USSOCOM, will be an active participant in the conference, together with other combatant and service component commanders, their senior staff, and prominent U.S. and allied/partner country national security officials and experts.
Other confirmed speakers include (in alphabetical order) Major General Yaacov Ayish, Defense and Armed Forces Attaché, Embassy of Israel; Ambassador Frederick “Rick” Barton, Assistant Secretary and Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization Operations, Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations, Department of State; Beth Cole, Director, USAID’s Office of Civilian-Military Cooperation; Thomas Debass, Acting Special Representative for Global Partnerships, U.S. Department of State; Michèle A. Flournoy, Board of Directors, Center for a New American Security, and former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy; Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn, USA, Director, Defense Intelligence Agency; Rear Admiral Robert P. Girrier, USN, Director of Operations (J3), U.S. Pacific Command; Major General Christophe Gomart, Commander, French Special Operations Command; Dr. Camille Grand, Director, Foundation for Strategic Research, France; Robert D. Kaplan, Chief Geopolitical Analyst for Stratfor, Foreign Correspondent for The Atlantic, and best-selling author; Brigadier General Ousmane Kane, Chief of Staff, Air Force, Senegal; General John F. Kelly, USMC, Commander, U.S. Southern Command; Thomas P. Kelly, Acting Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs; Vice Admiral Michael LeFever, USN, Deputy Director, Strategic Operational Planning, National Counterterrorism Center; Vice Admiral Teodoro Lopez Calderon, Chief of Staff, Spanish Joint Operations Command; Dr. Michele Malvesti, Vice President for Special Programs, SAIC; Rear Admiral Kerry Metz, USN, Interim Commander, Special Operations Command, USCENTCOM; Ambassador Ashok Kumar Mirpuri, Ambassador to the United States, Singapore; Lieutenant General John F. Mulholland, Jr., USA, Deputy Commander, USSOCOM; Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering, Vice Chair, Hills & Company International Consultants, and former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations; the Honorable Juan Carlos Pinzon, Minister of Defense, Colombia; Rear Admiral Sean A. Pybus, USN, Commander, U.S. Navy Special Warfare Command; Brigadier General Darsie D. Rogers, Jr., USA, Deputy Commander, USASOC; Rear Admiral Javier Romero, Defense Attaché, Embassy of Spain; Dr. Sarah B. Sewall, Lecturer in Public Policy, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and member of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board; the Honorable Michael Sheehan, Assistant Secretary, Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict (SO/LIC), U.S. Department of Defense; James Thomas, Vice President and Director of Studies, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments; and, Brigadier-General Denis Thompson, OMM, MSC, Commander, Canada Special Operations Forces.