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Story


Our Story

A few years ago, several CIA paramilitary officers, confronted with a series of staggering losses within their close-knit ranks, realized there was a growing need for support services and assistance for their special operations community. 

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Story


Our Story

A few years ago, several CIA paramilitary officers, confronted with a series of staggering losses within their close-knit ranks, realized there was a growing need for support services and assistance for their special operations community. 

 

“THIS IS AN INTENSELY PERSONAL CAUSE FOR US. AS FORMER AGENCY OFFICERS, WE HAVE CLOSE FRIENDS WITHIN THIS COMMUNITY AND ARE ACUTELY AWARE OF THEIR SACRIFICES. TO BE A PART OF THE FOUNDATION THAT SUPPORTS THEM IS A PROFOUND HONOR.” 

-IAN ALLEN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, THIRD OPTION FOUNDATION


In the wake of 9/11, it became increasingly clear that CIA’s special operations officers—and, just as importantly, their family members—were lacking critical support and resiliency services. The covert nature of their assignments makes them ineligible for charitable assistance. The concept of the Foundation started from within, when a group of officers came together to form Third Option Foundation to honor their fellow officers—those who lost their lives, as well as those who still deploy each day on missions around the world. 

A Legacy of Commitment

The history of this unit is storied, and rarely known. It traces its lineage to WWII when officers serving with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) operated far from their military counterparts and often behind enemy lines. That tradition continues today as CIA special operations officers deploy alone or in small groups to some of the most dangerous places in the world, frequently for extended periods of time. They came to CIA following accomplished military careers, often speaking second or third languages and carrying advanced degreesThese officers are silent professionals, serving in anonymity with little more than the support, sacrifice, and strength of their families.  

About the Foundation

Third Option Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt national non-profit organization. The name refers to the motto of CIA's Special Activities Center: Tertia Optio, the President’s third option when military force is inappropriate and diplomacy is inadequate. Third Option Foundation is dedicated to providing comprehensive family resiliency programs, working behind the scenes to quietly help those who quietly serve.

 

 
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About US


 

“Within 24 hours of learning of my father’s death, Third Option Foundation was there. They asked what we needed for the funeral, and it was handled. I am now a donor to the Foundation because of the way they treated us during such a difficult time. They were there when we needed them most.”
— Kasey, father KIA

 

“Third Option Foundation is an extension of my brother. He and I were very close, but there was a part of him that I didn’t know very well. They are that piece. Through the Foundation, I get to learn new things about him. The sense of duty, honor, and responsibility is a legacy for my brother’s girls, and they get to see that through Third Option Foundation.”
— Erin, brother KIA

 

About US


 

“Within 24 hours of learning of my father’s death, Third Option Foundation was there. They asked what we needed for the funeral, and it was handled. I am now a donor to the Foundation because of the way they treated us during such a difficult time. They were there when we needed them most.”
— Kasey, father KIA

 

“Third Option Foundation is an extension of my brother. He and I were very close, but there was a part of him that I didn’t know very well. They are that piece. Through the Foundation, I get to learn new things about him. The sense of duty, honor, and responsibility is a legacy for my brother’s girls, and they get to see that through Third Option Foundation.”
— Erin, brother KIA