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Brown, Top Special Warfare Official Underscore Power of Partnerships, Collaboration

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the principal civilian advisor to the secretary of defense for all matters related to Defense Department special warfare both underscored the importance of partnerships and collaboration during a pair of speeches today at the Special Operations Forces 2024 convention in Tampa, Florida.

A person in a camouflage military uniform with four stars on it that reads “Brown” and “U.S. Air Force” on the chest talks with another person in a camouflage military uniform to their right and a second person in business attire to their left. The three are all inside a room.
Special Operations Forces 2024 Convention
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., (center) talks with Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command, Gen. Bryan P. Fenton (left), and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, Christopher P. Maier (right), following keynote speeches by Brown and Maier at the Special Operations Forces 2024 convention in Tampa, Florida, May 9, 2024.
Photo By: Marine Corps Cpl. Henry Rodriguez
VIRIN: 240509-M-HV456-2230Y

Delivering back-to-back remarks followed by brief Q&A sessions, Air Force Gen. CQ Brown, Jr.; and Christopher Maier, assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict, emphasized the value of U.S. joint special operations forces working with partner-nation SOF communities, the defense industry and academia to tackle the challenges our nation faces. 

Describing collaboration as "common people united by a common vision, working together to accomplish uncommon results," Brown said such a quality is "a key component" of the SOF ethos.  

"Collectively, our single most significant strategic asset is our ability to work together," Brown told the crowd, adding that such work requires repeated engagements, increasingly complex exercises and numerous training evolutions. 

"Collaboration is part of a core identity — your unwavering commitment to collective strength." 

As one example of the U.S. and partner nations working together, both Brown and Maier noted that it has been 10 years since the 87-nation Global Coalition Against Daesh formed. 

"I think our 10-year anniversary of the defeat-ISIS coalition serves to highlight — as Chairman Brown did, as well — the true power of our partnerships that we have built over nearly two-and-a-half decades now of generational SOF relationships on counterterrorism," Maier said.  

Maier also explained that the U.S. and international SOF communities will have to work together more to meet the conflicts of the future. 

"We are going to need to work together even more closely, especially as our missions expand," he said.  

"No one has enough, and so we will need to find ways to share more — at the tactical, operational and strategic levels." 

For his own part, Maier has spent the majority of SOF 2024 sharing and contributing to the SOF collaborative effort by holding a series of eight bilateral engagements with eight partner and ally nations, including meeting with Jordanian King Abdullah II on Wednesday.      

In addition to addressing the U.S. military's strong bonds with partner nations, Brown and Maier also addressed DOD's relationship with the defense industry. 

"As the chairman of Joint Chiefs, I see it as my role to step back, look on and to think globally … to make some hard choices and make sure that we're pursuing the best tools," Brown said, adding that it's important to close "gaps and seams" in defense acquisition with the right balance of capability and capacity for both the U.S. and its partners. 

"And this is something that we all need to work on to make sure that we have the tools to respond when a crisis arises," Brown said. 

A person stands speaking at a podium with a microphone.
Special Operations Forces 2024 Convention
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, Christopher P. Maier delivers a keynote speech at the Special Operations Forces 2024 convention in Tampa, Florida, May 9, 2024.
Photo By: Marine Corps Cpl. Henry Rodriguez
VIRIN: 240509-M-HV456-2072Y

Maier thanked members of the defense industry for their efforts in keeping the SOF enterprise well equipped, adding that DOD will need even more of the industry's efforts in the future. 

"Walking the vendor floor in recent days, I am heartened to see so many companies — small, medium and big — that are baking in the expectation of working across capabilities from other companies, and countries. We need you to do this even more," Maier said.    

"SOF Week is, I hope, one of those essential places in which we can bring together our trusted industry partners with our acquisition and operational leaders, to continue to catalyze our ability to work at the speed of war and discuss how we must adapt to continue to dominate the battlefield — even as the character of war is clearly changing," Maier added. 

Brown and Maier both closed out their remarks by circling back to people and partnerships. 

"Together, through collaboration and teamwork, common people can attain uncommon results," Brown said. "With such unity, I'm confident there are no limits to what we can achieve." 

"No one can go it alone and be successful," said Maier, "and to fully actualize this potential, we need all of you."

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