Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict
The Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict or ASD(SO/LIC), is the principal civilian advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Defense on special operations and low-intensity conflict matters. Located within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (USD(P)), the ASD(SO/LIC) is responsible primarily for the overall supervision (to include oversight of policy and resources) of special operations and low-intensity conflict activities. These activities, according to USSOCOM's 2007 Posture Statement, include counterterrorism; unconventional warfare; direct action; special reconnaissance; foreign internal defense; civil affairs, information and psychological operations; and counterproliferation of WMD.[nb 1]
In addition to policy oversight for special operations and stability operations capabilities, the ASD(SO/LIC) has policy oversight for strategic capabilities and force transformation and resources. This includes oversight of capability development to include general-purpose forces, space and information capabilities, nuclear and conventional strike capabilities, and missile defense. As such, ASD(SO/LIC), after the Secretary and Deputy Secretary, will be the principal official charged with oversight over all warfighting capabilities within the senior management of the Department of Defense. The ASD(SO/LIC) is considered to be a part of the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
This position was mandated by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1987 (P.L. 99-661, passed 14 November 1986). The position was officially established on 4 January 1988, by Defense Directive 5138.3. The post's responsibilities for strategic capabilities and forces transformation were added as a result of USD(P) Eric Edelman's 2006 reorganization of the DoD policy office.
The ASD(SO/LIC) is supported in his/her work by three Deputy Assistant Secretaries of Defense:
- DASD, Special Operations and Combating Terrorism
- DASD, Partnership Strategy and Stability Operations
- DASD, Counternarcotics and Global Threats
The table below includes both the various titles of this post over time, as well as all the holders of those offices.
|Name||Tenure||SecDef(s) Served Under||President(s) Served Under|
|Assistant Secretary of Defense (Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict)|
|Charles S. Whitehouse||July 13, 1988 – July 12, 1989||Frank C. Carlucci III
William H. Taft IV (Acting)
Richard B. Cheney
|Ronald Reagan |
George H. W. Bush
|Seth Cropsey (Acting)||July 13, 1989 – October 18, 1989||Richard B. Cheney||George H. W. Bush|
|James R. Locher||October 19, 1989 – June 19, 1993||Richard B. Cheney
Leslie Aspin, Jr.
|George H. W. Bush |
|H. Allen Holmes||November 18, 1993 – April 30, 1999||Les Aspin, Jr.
William J. Perry
William S. Cohen
|Brian E. Sheridan||May 7, 1999 – January 12, 2001||William S. Cohen||Bill Clinton|
|Position Vacant||2001–2003||Donald H. Rumsfeld||George W. Bush|
|Thomas W. O'Connell||July 23, 2003 – April 2007||Donald H. Rumsfeld
Robert M. Gates
|George W. Bush|
|Assistant Secretary of Defense (Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict & Interdependent Capabilities)|
|Michael G. Vickers||July 23, 2007 – March 2011||Robert M. Gates||George W. Bush |
|Michael D. Lumpkin (Acting)||April 25, 2011 – December 2011||Robert M. Gates
|Michael A. Sheehan||December 2011 – June 2013||Leon Panetta
|Michael D. Lumpkin||December 2, 2013 – Present||Chuck Hagel||Barack Obama|
|Mark E. Mitchell (Acting)||Unknown||James Mattis||Donald Trump|
|Owen West||TBD||James Mattis||Donald Trump|
- Section 167 of Title 10 USC provides a very similar but not identical list of SOF activities.
- Garamone, Jim (29 August 2006). "Pentagon to Reorganize Policy Shop, Improve Cooperation". American Forces Information Service.
- "Department of Defense Key Officials" (PDF). Historical Office, OSD. 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2011-02-01.
- "Honeywell -Investor Relations". Ems-t.com. Archived from the original on 2011-10-03. Retrieved 2013-06-17.