Improvisation and public speaking might be the warrior of the future’s greatest weapons. Before that, operators must communicate in the native language. To emerge triumphant in an emergency situation is to improvise. To fuel the emotion of others to get things done requires a presence, emotional intelligence, and public speaking. An operator can rally proxy and partner forces to exact our mutual objectives far better than printed money.

We can’t rely on money forever. There is a strong pool of rapport between many special operations units and the SOF communities across the world. However, between our governments – it’s often money that plays the largest role. While understandable, it would be more desirable if we could transcend that transaction and form a real relationship.

The most beautiful part of Special Forces is that we learn a culture, interact with its members in their native tongue and forge strong bonds. Language is the custodian of culture. Language is the medium through which people communicate their feelings, thoughts, and aspirations to one another. Becoming proficient in a language is worth the effort.

My favorite moments abroad are the times I eventually become both comfortable in their company and with my Arabic in the presence of our partner forces. I remember sitting by a fireplace talking and laughing throughout the night in Arabic. I miss those moments as they are unique and singular experiences. It all hinges on the ability to speak the native language.