It’s been a good few days for the Global SOF Team in DC! As always, we tried to pack as much as possible into our voyage to our “Beltway Branch,” so here’s a look into what we did…

Podcasting at the Future Security Forum

We were honored to be a sponsor of this great conference hosted by New America and Arizona State University. It was one (busy) day full of excellent speakers, so of course we couldn’t miss the opportunity to get as many of those speakers as we could to join us for short editions of our podcast: SOFspot.

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This was a really cool opportunity, because so many of the speakers agreed (eagerly, even) to participate! So after leaving the stage–which was in a very nice room in the Ronald Reagan Center, they relocated to our impromptu studio for a more casual conversation.

And that happened SIX times! That’s right, we recorded six podcasts in one day. If that’s not a world record, it’s definitely a SOFspot record! Even better, our six podcast guests were all focused on different topics, from natural resources to space to cyber to urban warfare. Check it out:

1) Sharon Burke, a Senior Advisor for the International Security and Resource Security Programs at New America. We talked all about the situation in the Arctic, including the impacts of it becoming a more approachable (although still very harsh) environment, and about other resources in the world that may prove more valuable than oil. #cobalt?

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2) Maj (Ret) John Spencer, the Chair of Urban Warfare Studies and Co-Director of the Urban Warfare Project for the Modern War Institute at the United States Military Academy. He has tons of experience in the subject of Urban Warfare, and more importantly, a lot of passion for the subject. It is, as he said, “mind-blowing” to think about the lack of training, research, and resources that go into Urban Warfare–especially when something to the tune of 80% of the world’s population lives in urban areas. He told us all about how he’s working to change that!

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3) Nick Rasmussen, the Senior Director for National Security and Counterterrorism Programs at the McCain Institute for International Leadership. Nick spoke on a panel focused on how the fight against ISIS will impact the future, so we continued that conversation in our podcast, learning about his take on our “failure of imagination” to plan for terrorist attacks and how well the U.S. works with international partners.

4) LTC Natalie Vanatta is a U.S. Army Cyber Officer and Academy Professor for the Army Cyber Institute. We know Natalie well because she has done us the honor of speaking at GSF events in the past, and she is incredibly smart on so many subjects. Today she talked with us about cyber threats, how she thinks cyber should be incorporated in U.S. military commands, and what we need to do to improve our overall resilience to cyber attacks.

5) COL Dennis Willie, a U.S. Army Fellow to New America, and Carissa Christenson, the CEO of Bryce Space and Technology, were a one-two punch for our “space jam” podcast. They both came in to talk to us about the space domain, where we touched on everything from SpaceX to how the use of the domain might change for SOF in the near future to the benefit of “rich nerds.”

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6) Representative Seth Moulton is the U.S. Representative from the 6th District of Massachusetts, and as you may have heard he is also a candidate for the Democratic Presidential Nomination. Representative Moulton sat down with us to talk about his views on defense policy, from reviving our relationship with NATO to his view on the allocation of the defense budget to the impacts of the Marshall Plan.

Thank you to ALL of these individuals for being our guests on the podcast, and we are going to do our best to release one a week… so subscribe to SOFspot for all of these and more!

A GSF Huddle with our Partners (and Friends)!

Since we were going to be in DC and the weather is SO nice right now, we figured: let’s huddle. So we invited GSF Corporate Partners to Tysons, VA for a casual networking happy hour, which was very generously sponsored by our Partner, Axiologic Solutions!

Axiologic Solutions is a systems engineering company focused on designing and managing complex systems over their life cycle.  Their engineering ensures all aspects of a project or system are considered, integrated, and viewed as a whole, including technical and human components. See what else they do!

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Through their generosity, we were able to bring together around 30 members of our network for nearly 3 hours. It was a great chance to hang out with our local partners, trade war stories, talk about opportunities, and more.

The GSF Team was especially excited to finally meet Impexium’s John McAndrew in person… he’s our representative who carried us through our recent transition to a new user portal, and we know we couldn’t have done it without him. He works right in Tyson’s Corner, so he was able to join us at the Huddle to experience our glowing charm in person.

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So thank you to John, and thank you to the whole Axiologic Solutions team!

Not Your Average Venues

With one more event in the bag, we of course took the time to plan for some more ~future~ events in the area.

First we met with New America to plan our next SOF Policy Forum. This will be the third time we’ve held this invite-only event, and we’re moving it to a new month in 2019. We went over the agenda and planned for invitations, and it’s certainly shaping up to be an excellent event.

We also visited the International Spy Museum for a tour and to talk about ways that we can collaborate. The museum is not yet open to the public, but we were very generously given a behind-the-scenes tour by COL (Ret) Chris Costa, the Executive Director of the museum…and it’s going to be REALLY cool.

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Not only is the subject matter engaging and interesting all on its own, but they have figured out how to combine education with technology with history with interactive tools with puzzles with movies… it’s got something for every age and personality! We’re truly excited to come back to this museum when it’s fully open, and we’re looking forward to working with the International Spy Museum as a partner.

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We also had a quick visit and meeting at WWT to prepare for our upcoming USD(I) Workshop and Corporate Partner Field Trip that we have coming up there in June. WWT puts 110% into everything it does, so of course their new facility in DC is cutting edge. It’s so cool that Steve has already toured it two times, yet he came back to see it again with Chelsea and Meaghan.

While assessing the rooftop views (they passed the test), we learned that the DC Facebook branch is ALSO in the same building as WWT… and Meaghan just happens to have a friend who works there.

CUT TO: We got a personal, private tour of the DC Facebook office!!

We definitely felt some envy walking around the teeming facility… their kitchen and snack bar is literally unbelievable.

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But most importantly, we got to connect with friends and colleagues to continue strengthening and growing our SOF network!

We’re Never “Board”

Of course, that wasn’t all that we packed into 2.5 days.

We also brought together both our Board of Directors AND Advisory Council to have a melding of the minds and talk about some of the ideas and projects the GSF has coming down the pipeline. We value the input of these leaders who serve on our two guiding committees, and we don’t often get the opportunity to talk to them all at once!

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Our Partner, Victor42, kindly hosted the meeting for us at their primely located office, which is right in downtown DC. We were also happy to see that the Victor42 Jenga that they got for one of our Tampa Receptions was proudly on display!

We met with our team for a good hour and a half, and we are greatly appreciative of the many insights, connections, and experiences that they shared with us. As always, they make us excited for the future!

We hope to see you all at our next big GSF family celebration, coming up on May 20th in Tampa! Learn more here.

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