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SECURING AMERICA, STRENGTHENING ISRAEL

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JINSA’s 2011 Houston Leadership Award Honors Harris County Judge Ed Emmett

Deputy Commander of U.S. Special Operations Delivers Keynote Address

On September 22nd, more than 450 JINSA leaders, members and supporters gathered to pay tribute to Harris County Judge Ed Emmett who was honored with JINSA’s Houston Leadership Award. Judge Emmett was honored by JINSA for his service and leadership in the Houston community.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett (left) with JINSA Member Ed WulfeHarris County Judge Ed Emmett (left) with JINSA Member Ed WulfeJudge Emmett has served as Harris County’s chief executive officer since 2007. He oversees a county government that serves more than four million residents and has helped to maintain Harris County’s economic strength throughout his tenure. Judge Emmett is also the Director of Harris County’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management where, under his leadership, the safety and security of Harris County residents has increased.

Lieutenant General David Fridovich, USA, Deputy Commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) delivered the keynote address, giving those in attendance considerable insight into Special Operations missions.

Lt. Gen. Fridovich first spoke about the special operations missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Although the U.S. has begun to reduce troops in these areas, Fridovich forecasted that the special operation mission would continue to be a vital part of U.S. policy. Special operators will continue to live amongst the people in Afghanistan, conducting missions relating to security building and counter-terrorism, he said.

USSOCCOM operates in more than 70 countries around the world, Fridovich noted. Although 85% of the America's special operations forces are concentrated on the Iraq and Afghanistan missions, their work in Europe, Latin America, Africa, and the Pacific are also highly important. These medium-sized missions include working with local forces to counter narco-terrorists in countries like Colombia and preventing terrorist groups from taking root in countries like Ethiopia.

The constancy of these diverse and important missions take their toll on special operations forces. Missions often last for months with little time between a return home and the next deployment. The physical toll of these missions, Fridovich said, is only part of the difficulty. Unseen injuries like post-traumatic stress disorders, brain injuries, and medication addiction are growing rapidly. In his most emphatic statement of the evening, Fridovich said, “we owe it to these people to take care of them.”

Fridovich concluded with reasons for optimism about the future of special operations and the U.S. military. “The people coming into the special operation community are the best they have ever been.” Additionally he called attention to organizations like JINSA as a reason for optimism about the future. “JINSA gives American civilians a better understanding of the U.S. military and bring the two together to talk about important issues,” he said.

During a private lunch meeting earlier in the day, Fridovich conversed with a small group of JINSA supporters. He went into detail about the missions, hardships, and the future of USSOCOM.

Jewish Institute for National Security of America
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