TAMPA, FLA. – U.S. Special Operations Command hosted Special Operations Forces Week from May 17 to 21 at the SOFWERX facility in Ybor City. This year SOF Week consisted of two virtual conferences, Special Operations Forces Industry Conference and International Special Operations Forces Conference.
The week began with the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference which took place May 17-21, and was virtual for the second year in a row. The conference, co-sponsored by the National Defense Industrial Association and U.S. Special Operations Command, brought together senior U.S. SOF leaders, industry and academia to discuss USSOCOM acquisition program priorities. This year’s theme was “Expanding the Competitive Space” and focused on emerging requirements, trends, and technology USSOCOM needs industry’s assistance with to compete and win in the future.
“We have to innovate to transform our force,” said Army Gen. Richard D. Clarke, commander, USSOCOM. “Investing in both people and key technologies is going to be essential. Together, our military and industry will answer the call to innovate for the nation for the next 20 years and beyond.”
Expanding on Clarke’s comments, Mr. James Smith, USSOCOM’s acquisition executive asked the audience of more than 3,500 participants, “Will the traits that have made us successful for the last twenty years be the same traits that will enable success in the next twenty years?” Smith explained that winning in the cyber, space and data environments remains a key priority as the SOF community expands the competitive space by bringing on new industry and academia partners and enhancing current partnerships.
Among the highlights of the conference, Clarke participated in a recorded conversation with Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella in a virtual fireside chat—Clarke in Tampa, Florida, and Nadella in Seattle, Washington. They discussed the need for industry and government to work together to solve challenges in developing and adopting artificial intelligence solutions.
The conference also included presentations by USSOCOM acquisition leaders and a virtual forum with USSOCOM component commanders.
The second virtual conference, the International Special Operations Forces Conference began on May 20 and ended on May 21. More than 230 representatives from 58 nations from every continent except Antarctica participated. The international conference’s goals included creating a common understanding of the global SOF network’s efforts and challenges. Leaders also sought to increase SOF collaboration and alignment with common objectives and to identify and socialize methods to increase interoperability.
“ISOF gives us a platform to discuss and grow our SOF network and enhance our interoperability,” said Army Col. Harold Miller, USSOCOM’s international division chief in the operations directorate. “We learn from each other through senior leadership presentations, as well as small group discussions to encourage cross-cultural communication and problem solving. Together we are stronger and more capable to execute national security initiatives.”
General Clarke addressed the international partners stressing the importance of relationships as a source of strength for all nations.
“If you go into an operational headquarters, what you’ll see every single time is international partners working side by side,” said Clarke. “Even at the most tactical level, our SOF forces are working side by side. They’re integrated and they’re interoperable in ways that did not exist 20 years ago. Taken as a whole, our SOF enterprise, and our partnerships are undeniable. They are without question, a source of strength for all our nations.”
To learn more about SOFIC go to https://www.sofic.org/.
|Date Posted:||05.24.2021 15:02|
|Location:||TAMPA, FL, US|
This work, SOF community holds virtual industry and international conferences, by Michael Bottoms, identified by DVIDS, must comply with the restrictions shown on https://www.dvidshub.net/about/copyright.