Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict

On November 18, 2020, the Acting Secretary of Defense signed a memorandum designating the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict (ASD SO/LIC) as a principal staff assistant reporting directly to the Secretary of Defense and Deputy Secretary of Defense. The Acting Secretary's memorandum also removed the ASD(SO/LIC) and Office of ASD(SO/LIC) from the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy.

ASD(SO/LIC) oversees and advocates for Special Operations and Irregular Warfare throughout the Department of Defense to ensure these capabilities are resourced, ready, and properly employed in accordance with the National Defense Strategy.  In this role, the ASD:

  • Exercises authority, direction, and control of all special operations peculiar issues relating to the organization, training, and equipping of special operations forces
  • Is the Principal Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict Official within the senior management of DoD
  • Sits in the chain-of-command above USSOCOM for special operations-peculiar administrative matters; provides civilian oversight of the SOF enterprise.
  • Advises, Assists, and Supports the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy on Special Operations and Irregular Warfare policy matters.
You can read more about the organizational role of ASD(SO/LIC) here:  https://www.defense.gov/Newsroom/Advisories/Advisory/Article/2447997/media-advisory-on-designation-of-acting-assistant-secretary-of-defense-for-spec/

Leadership

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict
Vacant
HON Christopher Maier
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Performing the Duties of Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict
Milancy Harris
Joe McMenamin
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