Vickers, Nagata honored for service to Special Operations Forces

SO/LIC award winners Michael Vickers and Michael Nagata

ARLINGTON, VA – Michael Vickers and retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Nagata are the 2021 recipients of annual awards from the Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict (SO/LIC) division of the National Defense Industrial Association, the Arlington, Virginia-based nonprofit defense industrial group announced today.

Vickers, executive vice president for In-Tel-Q, 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.

Nagata, strategic adviser and senior vice president for CACI International, 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.

“We are excited to recognize two American treasures who have sacrificed so much for our national security and provided unwavering support to Special Operations,” said retired Army Col. John Taft, SO/LIC division chair. “Our utmost congratulations to our 2021 distinguished NDIA award recipients.”

These awards recognize each person’s distinct contribution of lasting impact in Special Operations, low-intensity conflict and irregular warfare. These honors will be presented at the awards dinner following the 32nd annual SO/LIC Symposium and Exhibition at the JW Marriott in Washington, DC, Nov. 3 and 4. 

Beside his role at In-Q-Tel, Vickers also is a senior adviser to the Boston Consulting Group. He serves on several corporate, nonprofit and government boards, including BAE Systems and General Atomics. Vickers was undersecretary of Defense for intelligence from 2011 to 2015 and assistant secretary of Defense for Special Operations, low-Intensity conflict and interdependent capabilities from 2007 to 2011. He served as an operations officer with the Central Intelligence Agency and as an officer, both noncommissioned and commissioned, in Army Special Forces.

In the 1980s, Vickers oversaw the effort that defeated the Red Army and drove the Soviets out of Afghanistan, one of the largest and most successful covert action programs in CIA’s history. He ran campaigns to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaida and the operation that brought justice to Osama Bin Ladin. He has received the National Security Medal and numerous other awards. Vickers holds a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University, a master’s of business administration degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and a bachelor of art’s degree from the University of Alabama.  His memoir, “By All Means Available,” will be published by Alfred A Knopf in 2022.

Nagata retired from the Army in 2019 after 38 years of service, 34 of which were in Special Operations. Beside his role at CACI, Nagata is a distinguished senior fellow at the Middle East Institute and a member of several benevolent organizations that support Special Operations forces and their families.

Nagata served as director of strategic operational planning for the National Counterterrorism Center. Previously, he had commanded at multiple levels in Special Operations, including Army Special Forces, a Special Mission Unit and Special Operations Command-Central which included the first two years of combat operations against the Islamic State in the Middle East.

For more information about the SO/LIC Symposium and Exhibition, please visit the NDIA calendar of events.  For media information, please contact Evamarie Socha at (703) 247-2579 or



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