COLONEL WILLIAM J. O’BRIEN JR, USMC (RET)
Colonel O’Brien is a 37-year veteran of the Marine Corps and Marine Corps Reserve. He was mobilized for the 1990 Gulf War and the 2004 Global War on Terror. His overseas assignments include Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Diego Garcia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Germany.
His previous assignments include Director of Readiness at Headquarters Marine Corps and as a Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Navy and the Deputy Secretary of Defense for wounded warrior policy.
Upon retirement in 2008 he co-founded the Institute for Combat Wounded Policy where he advocates for changes to DoD and Veterans Affairs policies and procedures and regularly briefs members of Congress on policy matters. He also testified before the Veterans Disability Committee. He was awarded the Legion of Merit in 2007, the Social Security Administration’s Public Service Award in 2006, and the Federal Executive Service Gold Medal in 2005.
Colonel O’Brien practiced commercial litigation for more than 30 years and is admitted before the US Supreme Court, the District of Columbia Bar, the State Bar of California, the US Court of Federal Claims, the Fifth and Ninth Circuit Courts, inter alia.
Colonel O’Brien taught undergraduate and graduate level classes in law, national security, and history for the University of Phoenix and Thomas Jefferson College of Law. He holds a Certificate in International Studies from Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies, a Doctorate in Law from Thomas Jefferson College of Law, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Cal-State Northridge.
CAPTAIN S. LAYNE SMITH, USN (RET)
Captain S. Layne Smith served a 30-year career as a naval aviator and officer in the United States Navy flying over 4,200 flight hours in the A-7E and F/A-18 aircraft and accumulating 400 carrier-arrested landings. Additionally, he served as the commanding officer of a strike fighter squadron, commanding officer of a naval air station and as a staff director in the office of the Secretary of the Navy. During his assignment in the Secretary’s office, he assisted in developing the Severely Injured Marines and Sailors Program (SIMS); an innovative program responsible for streamlining and reducing bureaucratic processes and policies to more effectively and efficiently assist in the care of severely injured military service members and their families.
Soon after his retirement from active duty in 2007, Captain Smith co-founded the Institute for Combat Wounded Policy (I4CWP). Building on the lessons learned from the SIMS program, the not-for-profit I4CWP is a leading advocate in identifying and educating the public to the effects of traumatic brain injuries and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It also seeks to identify and reform policies that hinder the distribution of military benefits and care to wounded service members and their families.
In addition to serving as a leader in the continuing fight for better policies to take care of wounded warriors, Captain Smith has also worked in a policy making position with FEMA and as the Deputy Director of the Strategic Management Group in the Department of Veterans Affairs. He is a trained mediator and an arbitrator for the National Futures Association.