Leadership and Advisory Board Biographies
Mr. Gordon England is the Chairman of V1’s Advisory Board.
Previously, Mr. England served as the 29th Deputy Secretary of Defense. He also served as the 72nd and 73rd Secretary of the Navy and as the first Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
Prior to joining the federal government, Mr. England served as President of the General Dynamics Fort Worth Aircraft Company (later Lockheed), President of the General Dynamics Land Systems Company and as corporate Executive Vice President of General Dynamics Information Systems and Technology Sector, Ground Combat Systems Sector and the International Sector. His business career spanned over 40 years as an engineer and senior executive.
A native of Baltimore, Mr. England graduated from the University of Maryland in 1961 with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. In 1975 he earned a master's degree in business administration from the M.J. Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University and is a member of business, engineering and leadership honor societies.
Mr. England has served in a variety of civic, charitable and government organizations, including serving as a city councilman; Vice Chair, national Board of Goodwill, International; the USO's Board of Governors; the Defense Science Board; the Board of Visitors at Texas Christian University; and many others.
He has been recognized for numerous professional and service contributions by multiple universities and organizations
ERIC T. OLSON, ADMIRAL, USN (Retired)
Admiral Eric Thor Olson retired from active military service on September 30th , 2011. His last assignment was as the commander of the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), headquartered at MacDili Air Force Base, Florida. USSOCOM ensures the readiness of joint special operations forces and, as directed. conducts operations worldwide.
A native of Tacoma. Washington. Admiral Olson graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1973 and qualified as a Naval Special Warfare officer (Navy SEAL) in 1974. He served in operational units within every component of the Naval Special Warfare community. Admiral Olson also served as a SEAL instructor and in senior positions at the Joint Special Operations Command. Navy Staff, and USSOCOM. His overseas assignments include Israel, Egypt and Tunisia, and several deployments to contingencies and conflicts. Admiral Olson commanded SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team ONE, Special Boat Squadron TWO, Naval Special Warfare Development Group, and Naval Special Warfare Command.
Admiral Olson earned a Master of Arts degree in National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School. He was a Joint Specialty Officer and Political-Military Affairs sub-specialist with emphasis on Africa and the Middle East. His awards include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal and Silver Star. He was also decorated for service by three foreign governments.
Admiral Olson was the first Navy SEAL to be promoted to three-star and four-star rank, and the first Navy officer to command USSOCOM. Before he retired, he was the "Bull Frog," an honorary title held by the longest serving SEAL on active duty.
PETER I. WIKUL, Captain, USN (Retired)
Captain Wikul has 40 years of operational experience in Navy Special Warfare. He enlisted in the Navy in 1970 and served in Underwater Demolition Team Twenty-One and SEAL Team TWO from 1976 to 1976, where he made four deployments. He left active service to earn a B.A. degree in Political Science at Old Dominion University
After receiving his commission in 1979, Captain Wikul served in SEAL Team ONE and ELEVEN before volunteering for duty with Observer Group Lebanon, United Nations Truce Supervision Organization from 1983-85. Returning to Little Creek, he served with SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team TWO and as Operations Officer of Special Boat Unit TWENTY, deploying twice to the Persian Gulf where he led the first SBU EARNEST WILL patrol.
After stints at the Defense Intelligence College and as Strategy and Tactics Department Head at the Naval Special Warfare Center, Captain Wikul served as XO of Special Boat Unit TWELVE before deploying to Jordan as the NSW Task Group Commander. He attended the USMC Command and Staff College at Quantico and then served as Chief, Counterproliferation Branch, in the J-3 Special Operations Division of the Joint Staff.
From 1998-2000, Captain Wikul served as CO, SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team TWO, then served as CoS and Deputy Commander at Special Operations Command South. From 2003-09, Captain Wikul served as Director of the ONI John F. Kennedy Irregular Warfare Center, an organization that he founded to provide tactical intelligence support to Naval Special Warfare forces worldwide. He is currently working with America Works and other organizations to help veterans and their families. Before he retired, he was the "Bull Frog," an honorary title held by the longest serving SEAL on active duty.
Captain Wikul’s awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Navy Marine Corps Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (four awards), Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon (two awards), Good Conduct Medal and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (seven awards).
Sam Harris – Is the CEO of V1 and has more than twenty-five years of aviation special operations support, national security, commercial aviation, and business experience.
Sam’s military career included over ten years in a combat support special (HCS) helicopter squadron as an Airborne Mission Commander, Weapons and Tactics Instructor, and Night Vision Goggle Instructor; ultimately serving as the Officer-in-Charge for the Navy SOF Support Helicopter Detachment in Iraq as part of the Joint Special Operations Aviation Component.
Following his squadron tour, Sam served the Commander THIRD Fleet as the SOF and CSAR SME to 12th Air Force.
His operational experience includes overall planning and execution responsibility for SOF air support in Counter-Terrorist/HVT and Direct Action Coalition SOF missions. Typical strikes involved from two to seven special operations helicopters in support of up to company size ground forces.
In private industry, Mr. Harris is the Chief Executive Officer of V1 Analytical Solutions. Prior to V1, he served in aviation management and flying positions in Parts 91 and 121 aviation operations.
Sam holds a B.S. degree from the University of Florida and M.S.S. from the Army War College.
Ralph Cacci - Serves as President of V1. He has twenty-five years of national security policy, intelligence and business experience in the Department of Defense, the Navy and the private sector. He served eleven years in the Office of the Secretary of Defense where he led numerous policy, program, arms control and counter-proliferation efforts.
In the private sector, he served ten years as an investment banker and most recently as a private equity investor in middle-market defense and aerospace companies.
Ralph is an intelligence officer in the Navy Reserve, currently serving as Commanding Officer of a unit support USPACFLT. He recently returned from mobilization to CJTF-HOA (Djibouti, Africa) where he served as J2 for the Navy Trident Reach/Ocean Look Combat demonstration (first deployment of Navy MQ-9 Reaper UAVs in support of Irregular Warfare). Prior to deployment, he served as senior Military Assistant to the Deputy Under Secretary of the Navy.
He has significant experience providing intelligence support to Naval Special Warfare and Joint SOF. As Commanding Officer of NR ONI 1166 Trident, Ralph was responsible for the training and combat deployment of reserve intelligence personnel with NSW forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. He personally deployed twice to CENTCOM AOR as an intelligence officer (N2) for a special operations helicopter squadron where he provided intelligence support for over 150 direct action and other SOF missions.
Ralph holds an M.B.A. from Harvard University, an M.A. in National Security Studies from the George Washington University and a B.A. from Stetson University.
Tom Croci – Serves as VP of Business Development for V1. He has twelve years of intelligence, national and homeland security experience with the Navy and the Executive Office of the President and National Security Council Staff. He served eight years in the active duty Navy as an intelligence officer where he held numerous positions in the HUMINT, CT and analytical fields.
Tom is an intelligence officer in the Navy Reserve. He recently returned from a deployment supporting Operation Enduring Freedom -Afghanistan where he served as member of a select Naval Special Warfare (NSW) team for a national level mission creating an unprecedented Irregular Warfare capability. In this role he worked very closely with the Joint Special Operations Task Force and Intelligence Community partners. Prior to deployment, Tom served as Deputy Executive Secretary of the Homeland Security Council (now National Security Staff) at the White House for President Bush.
Tom was a member of the Presidential Transition Team before his deployment in 2009 and developed significant policy and interagency experience in more than four years at the White House. He has recent in-depth experience with intelligence support and collection with NSW and other SOF. As Executive Officer of ONI 1166 Kennedy Irregular Warfare Center, Tom is also responsible for the training and combat deployment of reserve intelligence personnel with NSW forces in Afghanistan, Iraq, PACOM and HoA.
Tom has deployed as the DoD Detainee Operations Manager, Source Operations Manager, Hostage Task Force support and interrogator for CFC-A J2X; as the intelligence officer for a squadron (VS-22) where he flew over 200 hours and several combat strike missions in support of Operation Southern Watch – Iraq.
Tom’s final active duty tour was as Senior Duty Officer, White House Situation Room, National Security Council providing direct support to the President, Vice President, National Security Advisor and Senior White House Staff.
Tom holds a J.D. from The New York Law School and a B.S. from James Madison University.