SOMA PRESIDENT’S UPDATE
It’s been a rather active few months for SOMA since my last report to you. Over this period of time, the
SOMA leadership has been dealing with several major issues and as a consequence, I waited a little
longer than usual to report back to the SOMA membership on our progress. In the future, I anticipate
giving you an update every 45-60 days. Included below are some of the outstanding issues the Officers
and Board of Directors have been recently working on behalf of SOMA.
Since becoming SOMA President in January 2010, a prime objective has been to clarify, upgrade and
institutionalize a superior corporate governance structure for SOMA. As we have experienced robust
growth over the past few years (total SOMA conf. attendance in 2008 was 1025 and in 2010 it was
almost 2000) we need to make sure SOMA’s corporate governance also grows and matures in its ability
to manage this growth in a proper and responsible way.
The SOMA Board of Directors in the summer of 2010 made several critical decisions that in retrospect
helped move the organization in a strong, positive direction. The first was voting to have a reputable
group like Meeting Matters Plus (MMPI) become our new SOMA management company in early 2011
and the second was to move the 2011 convention to the Tampa Convention Center, where much more
space is now available for both a steadily growing number of conference attendees and vendors.
NEW SOMA BOD MEMBERS
At the annual meeting of SOMA members during the 2010 SOMA Conference , several changes were
voted in for the SOMA Constitution and Bylaws. The main change was converting our 5 Ex-Officio SOMA
BOD positions to 5 “Senior Members”. The new SOMA BOD members that were voted into these new
positions for two year terms were COL Tom Deal, COL Peter Benson, COL Robert Lutz, LtCol Steven Ward
and Mark Donald. In addition to these five new members, four SOMA officers are also members of the
SOMA BOD. They are SOMA President LTC Bob Harrington, SOMA Military VP MSG (Ret.) Sam Rodriguez,
SOMA Civilian VP COL (Ret.) Warner Anderson and CMsgt (Ret.) Scott James.
SOMA MANAGEMENT HIRES
In addition to the hiring of MMPI to better professionally manage our affairs, the SOMA BOD has
also retained legal counsel and an outside CPA firm to help in this upgrading in SOMA management and
We are indeed fortunate to have Atty. Tim Phillips of Atlanta GA agree to be our new, part-time SOMA
Legal Counsel. SOMA is a unique organization and Tim likewise provides a unique military and legal
background to help us. He is a graduate of the Naval Academy and served as a NAVSPECWAR Officer on
SEAL Teams before receiving his JD from the University of VA Law School. He presently serves as
counsel for a number of tax-exempt organizations, most notably, the American Cancer Society, and in
addition, Tim serves on several military and civilian non-profit boards. His 14 years of legal experience is
with an emphasis in non- profit regulatory compliance and corporate governance.
B.---ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL
The SOMA BOD also hired the CPA firm of Dreggors, Rigsby and Teal of Central FL to provide outside
accounting services for SOMA. They will provide independent, outside accounting services that will
allow SOMA to better manage our financial resources and will also provide the organization with annual,
audited financial reports.
On a sad note, Parke Teal, the senior partner that was so ably handling our account at Dreggors, was
tragically killed in an MVA the night before our SOMA BOD meeting in late May, 2011. He was a skilled
professional and a true gentleman who in just a few months, helped steer SOMA in the right direction.
He will be missed by all of us.
TRUE RESEARCH UPDATE
TRUE RESEARCH was the management company that was retained by SOMA to run our operations over
the past four years. Many of us had major concerns in how TRUE was providing these management
services for SOMA and it was decided in the fall of 2010 not to renew their contract. SOMA’s
relationship with them terminated in Dec of 2010.
Over this past spring and early summer, SOMA was in a long, convoluted and unsuccessful process of
trying to get our financial and web site information from TRUE when they suddenly announced
cessation of operations in April of 2011. In just the past few days, TRUE has declared Chapter 7
SOMA has retained legal counsel to protect its interests in this affair and we will keep you updated on
their progress. Unfortunately for SOMA, federal investigators have impounded all of TRUEs records and
computers, which include all of our legacy financial and web site information. At this time, we are
slowly reconstructing our past financial, membership and web site profiles from alternative sources.
Please bear with us over the next couple of months as we finish this process.
Our first priority was to get our site up and running so members and vendors could plan for the 2011
SOMA Convention. Our most recent update should be out momentarily. If you have any questions
regarding this section of our web site, please contact Tinia Allen, our SOMA coordinator at Meeting
Matters Plus. Her e-mail address again is TINIA@MEETINGMATTERSPLUS.COM and phone number is
WEB SITE SUGGESTIONS
We are building our members only section of the SOMA web site to ultimately be a significant
contributor to the SOF medical community conversation. We expect this section of our web site will
soon be populated with links, articles and other features that will be a real benefit to our SOMA
Since the SOMA membership is our strongest attribute, we are depending on your suggestions on what
should be included on our new web site. We’re also looking for SOMA members to serve on a volunteer
committee that will provide future guidance for the building of this site.
Contact me at PRESIDENT@SOMAONLINE.ORG if you have suggestions for features for the SOMA web
site or if you would like to volunteer for our SOMA web site steering committee.
JSOM (JOURNAL OF SPECIAL OPERATIONS MEDICINE)
For the past 11 years, the JSOM was the official journal of USSOCOM (US Special Operations Command).
For most of that time, SOMA has purchased the JSOM from USSOCOM and distributed it to our
members on a quarterly basis. USSOCOM recently decided to no longer fund the JSOM and the official,
government version of this magazine published its final edition in early spring 2011. Michelle Landers,
the JSOM editor for most of the past 11 years, has decided to print a new version of the JSOM as a
private, for profit endeavor.
To address the current JSOM situation, the SOMA BOD at its May 2011 meeting agreed to the following
“USSOCOM has ceased publication of the JSOM. We all regret the passing of that fine communications
tool. Obviously, this ends SOMA’s distribution of the government version of the journal to SOMA
membership. Although the editor (Michelle Landers) has demobilized, she intends to try to establish a
new journal that will resume many of the functions of the previous USSOCOM published journal.
However, the business model will be obviously different. The SOMA BOD supports the concept of a
Special Operations medical journal and will keep membership aware of current developments.”
To be of support in the JSOM transition, the SOMA BOD voted recently to purchase the spring and
summer issues of the newly privatized JSOM for current SOMA members. The BOD felt that purchasing
the next two issues would be helpful to the new JSOM start up and by limiting the purchase to just the
next two issues, wouldn’t unduly stress SOMA financially.
2011 SOMA CONVENTION (10-13 Dec, Tampa Convention Center)
Please read the article on the front of our web site for more information on the 2011 SOMA Convention.
10-11 Dec will be devoted to talks in the main hall and the last two days, 12-13 Dec, will concentrate on
smaller seminars and breakout sessions in smaller venues. One note to emphasize is that we are looking
for SOMA members suggestions for speakers and breakout sessions.
Military speaker and breakout suggestions, please e-mail to—LTC Rob Schultz. He can reached at,
Civilian speaker and breakout suggestions, please e-mail to—Dr. Rick Hammesfahr. He can be reached
I’m Chairman of the 2011 SOMA Program Committee and can be reached at:
LTC BOB HARRINGTON