Sure, we looked at 2021 with optimism– it was fun to have a magical date to look forward to when everything would change. Of course, that’s not what happened… and while we are still optimistic about 2021 we have a few changes to our quasi-regularly scheduled programming to share…
But first, let’s talk about an event that required no changes: our first “SV+SOF” event of the year!
SV+SOF: Tackling Real Challenges
In August of 2020 we launched our Silicon Valley + Special Operations Forces, fashionably abbreviated to SV+SOF, event series. This series focuses on the evolving partnership between the U.S. military and Silicon Valley, and specifically seeking a platform for SOF to have better access to technology that would help the force in future conflicts.
On 28-29 JAN, we held the second event in the series by tackling mission-based challenges provided by USSOCOM via interactive working groups, hearing from current operators at Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), and bringing in some high-caliber authors to share their perspectives.
We kicked off the event with author Christian Brose– he has a long resume of defense and SOF experience that he channeled to write “The Kill Chain: Defending America in the Future of High-Tech Warfare.” [Available Here]
Brose’s keynote remarks focused on what America and its allies need to do to stay competitive against its enemies. “Our competitors aren’t ten feet tall…but they’re 7 foot 1 and growing rapidly.” In short, there’s a lot of work to do!
After the keynote, we dove right into two different working groups. Dr. Keenan Yoho, longtime Global SOF VP and Board Member, Zoomed off to talk about “Network Design.” Our VP of Partner & Member Relations, Steve Jones, took the other half of attendees to work on “Technology Integration.” Easy peasy, right?
Wrong! The groups spent over an hour each discussing the many facets of these topics, culminating in a summary product that we sent (to later present) to Dr. Lisa Costa at USSOCOM.
Day two of this event featured two panels of NPS students, many of whom are current special operators.
The first was moderated by author August Cole, who led a discussion on “Automation in the Future Battlespace.” Four NPS students shared their projects, ranging from high-altitude balloons for situational awareness to synthesizing large amounts of data for quick command decisions.
It was a vibrant conversation with great input from the audience, and we hope to hear more about the practical application of these research projects in the future.
The second panel was about “Understanding the SOF Innovation Ecosystem,” a conversation led by Dr. Nick Dew from NPS. This crew of NPS students included representatives from the U.S., Sweden, and Canada, and they discussed the good and the “challenges” of the current innovation platforms available to SOF.
The final segment of this virtual event brought it back to the previous day’s Working Groups. Keenan and Steve provided some excellent summaries on what their groups discussed. We’re a little biased, but our teammates did an excellent job of presenting the findings to Dr. Lisa Costa, the Chief Information Officer at USSOCOM.
Dr. Costa then jumped in to share her take on the week’s events, saying that, “This group over the last two days has already had an impact on SOCOM Thought Leadership.” We look forward to sharing the next steps of this series and requesting your participation.
A huge thank you to our Partners at Black Cape–not only did they jump onboard as Sponsors of this event, but they also provided sheer excellence in Mr. Abe Usher, who served as the Master of Ceremonies for both days. Always a tough job and he made it look easy.
2021 SOF Imperatives Forum
Date Change to 16 JUN 2021
Here’s one of those changes we were talking about! The 2021 SOF Imperatives Forum was originally scheduled for February, but due to COVID and the transition in DC, we’ve moved this event to Jun 16th! And at this point, we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to have it in person.
Stay tuned to Global SOF comms for more news on that.
2021 SOF Imperatives Roundtable – Winter
Happening 9 FEB 2021
We aren’t totally leaving you hanging on SOF Policy in the first part of the year. We’re still having a virtual Imperatives Roundtable and the speaker list is pretty stellar…we have a very-recently-former acting SECDEF, the USSOCOM Vice Commander, and the AFSOC component commander all speaking over a two-hour session.
This event is a little exclusive. It’s only open to Active Duty Military and Government Representatives, our Corporate Partners, and invited guests.
2021 GSOF Symposium – US
In Person. In Tampa. 15-17 MARCH.
For the first time since 2019, we’re bringing back our flagship symposium in Tampa, Florida.
The week will look a little bit different than usual. We will obviously be following COVID19 Safety Standards and Protocols… the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay has its GBAC STAR™ Facility Accreditation, the highest certification for sanitation and cleanliness available.
Plus, the agenda has some changes and upgrades. Here’s a quick rundown of what you can expect:
Tuesday, 16 MAR:
- Professional Development aka “Pro Dev Day,” which will include opportunities like…
- SOF for Life Transition Seminar hosted by The Honor Foundation
- Forensics Course by NFSTC @ FIU
- Defense Acquisition University (DAU) Course
- Norwich University Course
- Speed Networking Icebreaker Event
- Waterfront Networking Reception
Wednesday, 17 MAR:
- Global SOF Symposium and Expo
- Fundraiser Reception for The Honor Foundation
Plus, Joint Special Operations University (JSOU) is hosting a Forum on “Exploring SOF Identity” onsite from 15-16 MARCH…registration is included in your Symposium registration!
There are a variety of Sponsorships available–although the limited tabletop display space is going fast. So if you want to get involved, don’t waste any time!
2021 Modern Warfare Week
Date Change to 16-19 NOV 2021
Our 2020 Modern Warfare Week in Fort Bragg, NC, was scheduled for November 2020, but when that couldn’t happen due to COVID19 we pushed it to April 2021.
Despite our hopes, the current outlook and laws around the pandemic in North Carolina won’t allow the execution of the event as planned in April. So we WILL be holding a Modern Warfare Week in Ft. Bragg in November 2021, so definitely mark your calendars for that.
2021 Global SOF Anniversary Reception
Pen it in for 17 MAY 2021.
The last event we have planned for the first part of the year is the celebration of our 7th Anniversary! For the second time, we’ll be holding this event at Armature Works–a venue that’s both historical and trendy in the heart of Tampa.
We’ll be hosting this gathering on the Monday of SOFIC week in indoor/outdoor space with adherence to a limited capacity. And on a more fun note, there will be free activities like rum tasting, freshly rolled cigars, sanitized games… to name a few.
Whether you want to sponsor, attend, or just learn more, check out our website.
That’s just a quick review of what we have planned… but as we’re used to in these times, things could still change! Stay tuned and stay involved.