Geurts, Colon-López are recipients of NDIA SO/LIC division's highest honors

James “Hondo” Geurts and SEAC Ramón Colón-López

 ARLINGTON, VA – James “Hondo” Geurts and Ramón Colón-López are the 2020 recipients of the highest honors of the Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict (SO/LIC) Division of the National Defense Industrial Association, the Arlington, VA-based nonprofit defense industrial group announced today.

Geurts, who is assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition, will receive the R. Lynn Rylander Award. This award is named for a Defense Department civilian and a founder of the SO/LIC Division, who was an advocate and activist for Special Operations Forces.

Cólón-López, who is senior enlisted adviser to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will receive the DeProspero Lifetime Achievement Award. This award is named for retired Army Col. Albert DeProspero, who served in Special Forces and is a founding member of the SO/LIC Division, as well as supporter and advocate of the Special Operations community.

“The Special Operations Forces community includes extraordinary people, making this decision a challenge every year,” said Dana Hudson, SO/LIC Division chair. “Geurts and Cólón-López have distinguished themselves among a very special group of people. We thank them for their extraordinary contributions in their service to the warfighter, Special Operations Forces and the greater defense communities.”

These annual awards recognize each person’s distinct contributions of lasting impact in Special Operations, low-intensity conflict and irregular warfare. These honors will be presented at the awards dinner following the 31st annual SO/LIC Symposium at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill, March 31 and April 1. 

In his current role, Geurts oversees an annual budget of more than $100 billion and is responsible for equipping and supporting the Navy and Marine Corps. He has more than 30 years of joint acquisition experience and has served in all levels of leadership positions, including acquisition executive, program executive officer and program manager of major defense acquisition programs. Following a distinguished Air Force career, Geurts was the acquisition executive for Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.

 In his current role, Colón-López is the most senior enlisted service member, by position, in the United States Armed Forces, and the principal military advisor to the Chairman on all matters involving joint and combined total force integration, utilization, health of the force, and joint development for enlisted personnel.

For more information about the 2020 SO/LIC Symposium, please go to For more information on the SO/LIC Division, visit

For media information, please contact Evamarie Socha at (703) 247-2579 or



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The National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) is America's leading defense industry association promoting national security. NDIA provides a legal and ethical forum for the exchange of information between industry and government on national security issues. NDIA and its members foster the development of the most innovative and superior equipment, training, and support for warfighters and first responders through its divisions, local chapters, affiliated associations, and events. For more information, visit