Naval Postgraduate school, Monterey, CA 8-9 March 2019

Useful Information

The Special Operations Research Association and the Joint Special Operations University (JSOU) are pleased to announce that this year's annual symposium will be held March 8-9, 2019 at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA 

Call For Papers

The Role of SOF in an Era of Great Power Competition

In the 2018 National Defense Strategy, Defense Secretary James Mattis put “great power competition” at the center of the U.S. defense posture. But what will this “competition” look like in the 21st century, and what role will special operations play?

Competition can be looked at through many angles, including:

1)    Great Power (Westphalian, nation-state framework)

2)    Non-geographical “imagined communities” (such as the Islamist umma, etc.)

3)    Bitcoin/crypto-currency versus state-based currency systems

4)    Old versus new international regimes/institutions

5)    Multipolar politics in the 21st Century

6)    Neo-medievalism (rise of megacities and their potential impact)

7)    Information Operations/non-state identities in the social construction of reality

Developing a conceptual understanding of what "competition" means for the 21st Century demands a wide-ranging discussion, but one important component of that is the role of SOF in great power politics. We hope to spur on discussion and reflection on both the concept of competition and the implications for SOF at this year’s annual symposium.

Of course, as usual, we also invite paper presentations and roundtable discussions on all issues related to special operations and special operations forces, from technical and tactical all the way to the strategic, including everything in between. Possible ideas include:

New technology and SOF
Building partner capacity
Security Cooperation
Foreign Internal Defense
Human Aspects of Military Operations
International and comparative perspectives on SOF

Interagency coordination

We encourage submissions from a diverse population of those with expertise and interests in special operations, including academic researchers, military practitioners, and policy analysts. Paper proposals should consist of a title, abstract (150-300 words), contact information (name, affiliation, address, phone, email), and 1-page CV. Along with your proposal, please indicate if you would be willing to serve as a panel chair or discussant at the conference.

Panel proposals are intended to provide a thematically consistent discussion of research on a specific topic. Panels consist of a panel chair/discussant, and 3-4 paper presenters. Panel submissions must provide all of the following information: title/theme of panel; contact information (name, affiliation, address, phone, email), and 1-page CV for chair, discussant, and all presenters; and paper proposals for all presenters on the panel (title and 150-300 word abstract). Please note: paper proposals for the panel should be included with the panel submission, and not submitted separately as an individual paper proposal.

Roundtable proposals are intended to encourage a less structured, more open discussion format wherein topics of interest to the special operations community are debated by 3-5 researchers and/or practitioners with knowledge of the topic. Roundtable proposals should consist of a title/theme; brief summary of why topic is important and what questions will be addressed by the roundtable (150-300 words); and 1-page CV and contact information for all proposed roundtable members (name, affiliation, address, phone, email).

Submissions  This year we are using a rolling acceptance policy, meaning we will try to get your paper accepted within 1-2 weeks of submission, if not sooner. This will allow people to make the necessary plans to participate at the conference. While there is no hard deadline, any submission received after early February might be a bit difficult to accommodate, so it would be wise to check with us before submitting if it's less than a month out. Proposals should be submitted via email to Submitters will be notified of receipt as quickly as possible and again regarding acceptance within 1-2 weeks.