The United States of America has a leadership problem.
Leadership within a democratic republic can be defined in the simplest of terms as an elected official with a vision and responsibility to execute that vision. One demographic within the American populous is uniquely suited to lead the us through an uncertain future: Veterans.
In 1967, 75% of Members serving in the House of Representatives were veterans. In 1975, 81% of Members serving in the Senate were veterans. In the most recent 118th Congress, the House of Representatives and the Senate held 17% and 18.4%, respectively, of Veterans serving as elected officials – the lowest and second lowest since 1953. We think that’s a problem.
We are living in complicated times. Turmoil at home, retrenchment abroad, and growing tensions among our adversaries. Combat operations have largely ended in the Middle East, while the current administration is downsizing the military in the face of the largest recruiting and retention deficits in a generation. The withdrawal from Afghanistan left many Veterans confused and angry – giving our best years to a war that ended in chaos.
We offer an alternative – continue to serve your country through civil service.
The Special Operations Association of America is challenging all Veterans to get politically involved. From local elections to the White House, our nation needs you to be more engaged. We will work with leaders in all sectors to find, develop, and support Veteran candidates who can lead the United States into the future.
The American military is taught to lead from the moment we take our oath to protect the Constitution. That oath didn’t end when we left the military. We know first-hand how effective and impactful former Servicemembers are in the political arena. Veterans know how to set differences aside and put the mission first. Veterans live and breathe the ideology of “One Team One Fight!” We’re not afraid of a fight, but we resist war because we’ve seen it. Honor and integrity are bedrock characteristics refined through military service.
Leadership, accountability, and transparency cannot be separated.
In the spirit of transparency, we call on all Veterans who are currently serving as elected officials, and those who we hope will be soon announcing their candidacy, to release their DD214 military service records. It is our hope that by being transparent we will encourage openness, trust, and cooperation across political divides. As the Special Operations community, we are the tip of the spear and lead by example. With this commitment to transparency, our Executive Director and the President of our Board will be releasing their DD214’s, with all sensitive information redacted. This is our first call to action of many we will be announcing over the next few months heading into election season.
US Army non-commissioned officers define ‘responsibility’ as being accountable for everything you do and everything you fail to do. We believe inaction is heard louder than action in today’s public arena. If you’re not leading from the front, please, step aside.