U.S Special Operations Command has had a hand in virtually every major military operation since 9/11. One of the most important missions of the headquarters and Special Operations Forces Acquisition Technology and Logistics (SOF AT&L) is getting the latest technology into the hands of the warfighter. An important part of that philosophy happens at the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference held at the Tampa Convention Center May 15 – 18.
The conference is co-sponsored by National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) and USSOCOM and its theme is Win – Transform – People.
"The theme reflects USSOCOM's vision to win the current fight, transform current capabilities and equipment for future threats, and focus on our greatest asset: our people and families," said James F. Geurts, acquisition executive, USSOCOM. "2017 SOFIC will provide a forum for the SOF community to come together to strategize and discuss how we can collectively support this vision now and for years to come."
"Notable additions to this year's agenda are the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) one-on-one sessions and a streamlined Innovation Showcase where entrepreneurial companies have the opportunity to present their innovative concepts and technology," said retired U.S. Air Force Gen. Craig R. McKinley, president and chief executive officer NDIA.
The conference officially opened on May 16 by USSOCOM Commander U.S. Army Gen. Raymond A. Thomas III and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.
"We have 8,000 SOF members in 80 countries and we are a command at war," said Gen. Thomas. "We must couple with the best and the brightest in industry."
To streamline innovation USSOCOM presented a crash course on the cooperative research and development agreement or CRADA to speed up the innovation process. CRADA is an agreement between a government agency and a private company or university to work together on research and development. A CRADA is intended to speed the commercialization of technology, optimize resources, and protect the private company involved.
Also, USSOCOM will introduce the Acquisition Agility Directorate headed up by Kelly Stratton-Feix. Two sessions will be dedicated to acquisition agility.
Last, the "USSOCOM Marketplace" will be featured to provide a wide variety of USSOCOM experts who will answer questions in an informal environment designed to familiarize industry members with USSOCOM acquisition processes and procedures.
More than 400 defense-related companies at the conference are exhibiting their latest innovations, products, and services supporting SOF operators.