The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) hosted an evening speech by Admiral Eric T. Olson, Eighth Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), on Monday, March 3, 2008, at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Admiral Olson’s speech titled, “The Terror Threat: What It Will Take to Deter, Disrupt and Defeat It,” was the fourth in the CNAS National Security Leaders Forum (NSLF) series. The CNAS National Security Leaders Forum is a platform for senior civilian and military leaders to address the Washington policy community and press on the most important national security issues of the day.
Admiral Olson’s task as Commander of USSOCOM, codified in the Unified Command Plan signed by the President of the United States, is to plan and synchronize Department of Defense operations in a global war on terror. Admiral Olson elucidated that task when he stated, “We, at Special Operations Command, receive the plans, review the plans, coordinate the plans, deconflict them, collaborate them, prioritize them, match them against needs around the world, and then make recommendations to the joint staff and the secretary of defense on how resources ought to be allocated around the world to match the demands of the global war on terror.” Throughout his speech, Admiral Olson addressed each point by stating his priorities as Commander and listing core activities on which USSOCOM is focused. He eloquently emphasized the necessity of relationship building to contribute to a global environment that is inhospitable to terrorist activity. Admiral Olson closed the speech by admitting the challenges he faces, but reminding us that there are many opportunities for the future.