The Culture They Keep: The Role of Legal Professionals in Restoring Accountability and Legitimacy to SOF Culture

Authored by:
Jason DeSon
Published on 6/1/2020
Digital Only

In this award winning paper, Lieutenant Colonel Jason DeSon looks at Special Operations Forces (SOF) culture and how the legal professionals within the USSOCOM can help restore an ordered value system.  He asks the question, “If a disordered value system is truly the source of the current ethical and cultural shortcomings of SOF—where individual and team considerations come before ethical standards—then what role, if any, does the legal professionals of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps supporting SOF have in enabling the commander to overcome those shortcomings and promote a culture of adherence to those high standards of ethical and professional conduct?”  Lt Col DeSon proposes a four-step process to help clarify the SOF culture problems and develop solutions.  This paper will be of benefit to SOF leaders as they reinforce the very highest ethical and professional standards within the special operations community.