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Ricardo  Aponte

Brigadier General (ret.)

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Ricardo "Rico" Aponte is the Director for Innovation and Experimentation, U.S. Southern Command, Miami, Fla.


The directorate is the focal point for transformation initiatives, knowledge management, assessments, experimentation and gaming within the U.S. Southern Command. The directorate seeks out new concepts and rigorously tests them in simulation and as part of operational experiments.


Prior to his current assignment, he was Deputy Director of Operations for the U.S. Southern Command. During the national response to instability in Haiti, General Aponte led the command response to the crisis and originated international coalition operations between four countries.


He recently served as Commander of the Standing Joint Force Headquarters, a Secretary of Defense (SJFHQ). The SJFHQ consists of planning, operations, knowledge management, and information superiority experts who form the backbone for a joint task force command structure in the event of contingency operations.


Ricardo is a native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and a graduate of the University of Puerto Rico.


He joined the Air Force Reserve in 1990 and was assigned to the Deputy Chief of Staff for Air and Space Operations Western Hemisphere Division in the Pentagon. He led the Reserve officers assigned to the Western Hemisphere, European and Defense Attaché directorates.


In 1992, he was selected by the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds, as the Spanish language narrator for their Latin America Tour. The general was a tiger team member in response to frequent mobilization and demobilization issues resulting from operations Enduring Freedom and Noble Eagle, and oversaw the deployment of 25,000 individual Reservists.


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