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 Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict 

Special Operations / Low Intensity Conflict (SO/LIC) Division 


The mission of the SO/LIC Division is to assist industry, government and the public in understanding the critical role of special operations (SO) and low intensity conflict (LIC) forces in our national security strategy and how these forces are integrated within our national military structure.

A major component of the division’s mission is to facilitate contact and cooperation between industry and SO and LIC forces to assure that those forces have access to the ideas and technology that flow from our nation’s superior industrial and academic base. The division gives voice to the initiatives and concerns of the SO and LIC community and provides a forum for new, innovative ideas to meet the national security challenges of the 21st Century. The division is composed of subject matter experts from defense industry who, with the aid of government liaison participants, are committed to assisting in the resolution of difficult issues facing the SO and LIC community.

Through meetings and symposia, the division provides information on a wide variety of matters involving special operations, low intensity conflict and related national security matters including counter-narcotics, combating terrorism, consequence management resulting from terrorist events, civil affairs, psychological operations, force protection, humanitarian operations and peacekeeping.  The functional purview of the division follows the roles and missions of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict, and the Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command. Division activities provide a forum for discussion of SO and LIC challenges and requirements, and provide an opportunity for SO and LIC leaders to present the policy, concepts and procedures guiding their respective commands and agencies in meeting national security goals. 

The highlight event of the year is the SO/LIC Symposium & Exhibition, conducted in the January/February timeframe. Annually, the division presents its prestigious R. Lynn Rylander Award to an individual who has made significant and lasting contributions, singular or lifetime, to the SO and LIC community in consonance with, and supportive of, the goals and objectives of NDIA and the SO/LIC Division. The division also presents the DeProspero Lifetime Achievement Award to recognize the sustained, distinguished service of an individual who has made distinctive lifetime contributions with significant impact in the areas of Special Operations, Low Intensity Conflict, or Irregular Warfare. In addition, Superior Achievement Awards are presented to selected military and civilian personnel, recognizing individual achievement and contributions to SO/LIC missions and programs in the past year.

Download/Print/View a Short History of the NDIA SO/LIC Division


Download/Print/View August 2016
Download/Print/View April 2015
Download/Print/View May 2014
Download/Print/View November 2013
Download/Print/View January 2013
Download/Print/View August 2012
Download/Print/View January 2012

Upcoming Events

Division Social
November 17, 2016
Crystal City Sports Pub, Arlington, VA
Click here for more information

2017 SOFIC
May 23-26, 2016
Tampa Convention Center, Tampa, FL

Upcoming Meetings

28th Annual SO/LIC Symposium & Exhibition
February 13-16, 2017
Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, North Besthesda, MD, 20852
Click here for more information

Annual Awards & Essay Contest

Annually, the NDIA SO/LIC Division solicits nominations for the R. Lynn Rylander Award, DeProspero Lifetime Achievement Award, and Superior Achievement Awards, which are presented during the Annual SO/LIC Symposium & Exhibition. Awards are open to all personnel from USSOCOM and its elements, and to personnel within the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Joint Staff, Service staffs and other organizations with connections to the SO/LIC community.  2017 information will be posted as it becomes available.  


The R. Lynn Rylander Award: Colonel Thomas E. “Tim” Davidson, USAF (Ret)

The DeProspero Lifetime Achievement Award: Ambassador (Ret) Dell L. Dailey  

Download/Print/View a listing of our 2015 award recipients and Rylander Laureates. 

Annually, the President of JSOU (Joint Special Operations University) and the NDIA SO/LIC Division Board hold a SO/LIC Essay Contest. Entrants are encouraged to address the current year's SO/LIC Symposium theme, but any topic relevant to the broad range of SO/LIC activities is acceptable. The selection board awards a $1,000 prize for the best essay and $500 for the runner-up. Winning essays are published with the NDIA Annual Symposium proceedings and may be selected for publication as a JSOU Press monograph. Please visit the Symposium website for additional information on this year's program:

2016 Special Operations Essays
Each year, the Joint Special Operations University partners with the Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict Chapter of the National Defense Industrial Association in sponsoring an annual essay contest.

This year's first place winner is U.S. Air Force Major Jared Harris, with "Daydreams of an Operational Planner: Reimagining the Counterterrorism Task Force."

In second place is U.S. Army Major Tim Ball, with "Bringing the Alliance Back to SOF: The Role of NATO Special Operations Headquarters in Countering Russian Hybrid Warfare."

This collection also includes high-quality, original works from four other professional military education (PME) students: U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 James Allbright, Peruvian Army Colonel Ricardo Benavides, U.S. Army Major Orlando Craig, and U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 Stephen Dayspring. These essays provide current insights on what our PME students see as priority national and international security issues affecting special operations. They add value to the individuals' professional development, provide an outlet for expressing new ideas and points of view, and contribute to the knowledge of the special operations community.

Reports & Activities

Download/Print/View notes from the 27th Annual SO/LIC Symposium & Exhibition:
Written by Mr. Andrew Borene, NDIA SO/LIC Board Member & Ms. Elizabeth Irwin, M.A. Candidate, Georgetown University Center for Security Studies

Download/Print/View slides from Mr. James F. "Hondo" Geurts, Acquisition Executive, SOF AT&L U.S. Special Operations Command.
-Presentation to Division 10/8/15

Download/Print/View The Origins of USSOCOM

Download/Print/View U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF): Background and Issues for Congress

View the 2012 Katz Deli Luncheon for Wounded Warriors highlights video.

Download/Print/View slides from SO/LIC Board Member, Wade Ishimoto's presentation on OASIS (Operational Advocates Supporting Injured Soliders).
- Presentation to Division 6/7/11

View the 22nd Annual SO/LIC Symposium & Exhibition highlights video.

Download/Print/View slides from Mr. Dyke Weatherington, Deputy Director, Unmanned Warfare, Portfolio Systems Acquisition, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (OUSD) for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (AT&L).
-Presentation to Division 3/1/11

Download/Print/View the Command Report, Multi-National Division Baghdad,
1st U.S. Cavalry Division.



Mr. Michael Kichman
UW Solutions
257 N 24th Street
Camp Hill, PA 17011
Phone: (703) 388-0703

Vice Chairman

Mr. Edward “Otto” Pernotto
Mission Secure, Inc.
Phone: (703) 920-0574

Executive Officer

Mr. John Erwin
Vencore, Inc.

National Defense Industrial Association

Mrs. Christy J. Mason, CMP
Director, Operations
Phone: (703) 247-2586

Mrs. Jessica L. Roman, CMP
Associate Director, Operations
Phone: (703) 247-9476


Affiliate Associations

The Association for Enterprise Information    National Training and Simulation Association    Precision Strike Association    Women in Defense