SOFIC 2022 First Thoughts
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#sofic2022 saw the largest in-person attendance ever at approximately 16,000 attendees in Tampa.
The theme “Campaigning with partners for integrated deterrence” was very clearly demonstrated with strong representation from international allies including #australia #UKDefence #InternationalDefenseCooperationDirectorateoftheIsraelMOD #TeamNorway and a variety of individuals from #allynations.
Integrated deterrence considers the #internationalpartners highlighted and the #crossdomain coordination demonstrated at #SOFIC2022. Representatives from every major command at #USSOCOM and representatives from each branch of the DoD were in attendance.
Much of the message communicated was “we are stronger together”.
In line with that message, many representatives spoke about what they need, in terms of technology, industry participation, and cross-domain coordination to accomplish their long-term vision. In each room were discussions of pathways for contracting, with each speaker highlighting accessibility and their available mechanisms for working together. This sentiment was reflected in speeches by Heidi Shyu, Jim Smith, Lisa Sanders, and others.
There were introductory panels and deep dives with the Program Executive Offices (#PEOs) that allowed industry participants to ask questions to understand how to better serve their mission sets. As well as panels with discussions around working with allies, developing technology faster, nuances of RFP sections, non-traditional contracting mechanisms, what it means to be SOF peculiar, and so much more.
On Tuesday afternoon Collaborative Compositions had the opportunity to sponsor the Govmates matchmaking event. The event matched buyers from various commands and large primes with innovative non-traditional businesses based on the buyer’s preferences to have 15 min conversations about product-market fit.
Co-sponsoring the event were Bank of America, ATI, and the Global SOF Foundation. This was an incredible opportunity to bring together small businesses with potential customers for open dialogue. The event was completely free for all to attend and provided an additional forum for discussion at the conference. It was especially helpful as the opportunity to schedule 1-1s with buyers was quickly filled up when made available online before the conference.
Aside from the highlights above, the #SOFDemonstration on #TampaBay was unforgettable. The large-scale scenario included numerous displays from special forces aircraft, divers, SEALs, ground vehicles, and more on the bay and around the Convention Center. The idea was the Mayor of Tampa had been captured and held hostage. #LittleBirds #Blackhawk #Snipers #groundforces #Armoredvehicles and a variety of #watercraft came together to portray a very real scenario with simulated (real blanks) live fire. With heavy fire all around and the smell of #gunpowder fresh in the air, tourists in Tampa that might have been unaware of the conference undoubtedly got the surprise of a lifetime.
There was without question a sense of urgency in terms of pacing threats and the speed of technology development, however, it seemed to be paired with a new openness to work with industry to identify and implement solutions faster. Having government decision-makers actively work to make themselves accessible to industry partners left me with a sense of optimism, and a conference experience I will never forget.
More to come soon…..