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09 May 2023

‘Gotta be there early’: American special ops lessons from Ukraine

Breaking Defense
The head of US special operations says he doesn’t necessarily see a “direct linkage” between some of the lessons learned in Ukraine and those useful in a potential conflict with China, but Kyiv’s defense of its country has emphasized another, more general rule: When it comes to international partner forces, “be there early.” (

"USSOCOM chief Gen. Bryan Fenton was referring to the American special operations relationship with the Ukrainian military, dating back to shortly after the end of the Cold War. In the mid-1990s, he said, someone from the special operations community was there ” to shake the hand of this new nation, Ukraine, and talk to their military and say, ‘We want to be a partner.'”"


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  • We are extremely excited USSOCOM selected GSOF to co-sponsor its newly envisioned “SOF Week” in 2023. SOF Week will be a national convention for U.S. SOF and include a more diverse slate of programs, to include professional development sessions, operator-driven discussions, and family-focused conversations. In 2020, GSOF was designated as a National Military Association by the U.S. Department of Defense, and we look forward to working with USSOCOM to make “SOF Week” an impactful event.
    Stuart Bradin
    President and CEO, GSOF


Co-sponsorship of this event does not imply endorsement of GSOF, its services, or products by the United States Government, the Department of Defense, or U.S. Special Operations Command.