Awards and Essays

The SO/LIC Division is soliciting nominations for the R. Lynn Rylander Award and DeProspero Lifetime Achievement Award, both of which will be presented 28 February 2018 at the Awards Banquet held in conjunction with the 29th Annual SO/LIC Symposium & Exhibition, 28 February – 2 March 2018 in Washington, DC. 

We request your senior perspective and personal considerations for the Rylander and DeProspero nominations which recognize contributions with sweeping effects across one or more key parts of the community and frequently represent a lifetime of accomplishment.  Past recipients of the Rylander Award include: Mr. Tim Davidson, LTG Frank Kearney, The Honorable Thomas (Tom) W. O’Connell, Mr. James W. Cluck, Gen Alfred M. Gray, Col John T. Carney, Jr., GEN Bryan “Doug” Brown, and many other pillars of the special operations community. These awards are open to all personnel from USSOCOM and its Service, Theater, and other elements, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Joint and Service staffs, Federal Government/ Interagency, U.S. Coast Guard, and other organizations with connections to the SO/LIC community whom in your opinion meet the stringent criteria of these honors.

R. Lynn Rylander Award
The R. Lynn Rylander Award, our highest honor, is presented annually to an individual who has made distinctive contributions in the areas of Special Operations, Low Intensity Conflict, or Irregular Warfare.  Achievements may be singular or cumulative, but in the spirit of R. Lynn Rylander’s service, the policy, guidance, leadership, or mission contributions must have been of the highest impact – highly significant and lasting – to the SO/LIC community.  For the Rylander, the contributions should also show support of the goals and objectives of NDIA and the SO/LIC Division as a cooperative open forum between government and industry.

The Award is named for R. Lynn Rylander, a Department of Defense civilian who was a founding member of the organization which is now the SO/LIC Division of NDIA.  He was an early advocate and activist on the revitalization of Special Operations Forces and the organizational and legislative changes required to sustain them.

Each year, the name of the R. Lynn Rylander Award recipient is added to the award trophy, which is in the form of a chess figure that advances, attacks, and defends indirectly, sharing the characteristics are critical to the men and women involved in the conduct of Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict.

DeProspero Lifetime Achievement Award
The DeProspero Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes sustained, distinguished service and is presented annually to an individual who has made distinctive lifetime contributions with significant impact in the areas of Special Operations, Low Intensity Conflict, or Irregular Warfare.

The award is named for Colonel Albert A. DeProspero, a retired Army Special Forces Colonel who was a founding member of the SO/LIC Division of NDIA, a former Chairman of the SO/LIC Executive Board, and a lifelong supporter of and advocate for the SO/LIC Community.

Nomination Procedures:
Nominations must be written in a memorandum format in 12pt Times New Roman font.
Each awards’ package is to consist of the following 3 items:
1. A nomination memorandum that contains 
a. The Nominee’s full name, rank, billet title/position, address, phone number, fax number, and email address
b. The Nominator’s or Command POC’s full name, rank, billet title, address, phone number, fax number, and email address
c. Signature of the Nominator
2. Attachment 1 should be a concise, detailed description of the accomplishments of the Nominee no longer than two pages, double-spaced.  Either bulletized or paragraph format will be accepted
3. Attachment 2 should be a draft award citation of no more than 15 lines of text, using 1 inch left & right margins, suitable for transcription on an NDIA certificate (similar to the DoD Meritorious Service Medal format)


All nominations should be emailed to the NDIA SO/LIC Awards Committee Chair, Sam Morthland, at Each nomination should be a separate MS Word or .pdf attachment.

Submission Deadline:

Friday, 22 Sep 2017.  

Selection Procedure:
All nominations are voted on and selected by the NDIA SO/LIC Executive Board. The individual (and their Commander/Director, if applicable) will be notified of selection by the Awards Committee Chair as soon as the decision is finalized to allow for follow-on event planning.


Please contact the Awards Committee Chair, Sam Morthland, at (703) 750-1794 Ext 6 or



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.