To open with an understatement, 2020 has been an unusual year. But at the Foundation, we’re hopeful that we can inject some normalcy back into our timeline and push forward with our two big fall events: the GSOF Symposium in Europe and Modern Warfare Week in the US.
(This blog is focused on the former, but we do encourage you to check out the freshly launched website about the latter).
“We selected Poland as the host nation for the 2020 edition of GSOF Europe as this year is the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Warsaw, and an interesting time in the Polish military’s evolution as it looks to strengthen regional alliances and diversify reliance on NATO-led forces,” said Stu Bradin, our President and CEO.
If you’re not an Eastern European history buff, the Battle of Warsaw, aka the Miracle of the Vistula, may not ring a bell with you. But it was a series of battles that resulted in a “decisive Polish victory” in 1920 during the Polish–Soviet War. And if you want more details about that battle–make sure you attend and you can learn more!
POLSOF Commander, BG Sławomir Drumowicz, weighed in on the event, stating that his “greatest expectation is to make this event a memorable one not only to the SOF community, but the entire audience oriented on security issues which has a significant role in SOF in the future unpredictable security environment.”
We’re honored to have his support, and the support of Poland’s Ministry of Defence. But this event isn’t just about Poland.
Polish SOF are being clever in their approach, looking to pool resources with regional partners and there is significant opportunity here for visitors to GSOF Symposium Europe to make contact, establish common areas of interest, and build relationships with Polish entities.
Plus, Warsaw is a large city full of history, fairly centralized, and the SOF Command in Poland has been welcoming and supportive in our planning of this event.
What’s on the Agenda?
As with our past two European events, we’ll kick off Poland with a one-day closed-door government and military seminar. This gives that group a great opportunity to break the ice and talk about issues they are facing in their Nations–it often comes out that despite borders, they have similar problem sets. This presents a venue for cooperation and opens doors to conversations that may not be had otherwise.
A look back at the venue of our 2019 event in Belgium!
Plus, the first evening features a Welcome Reception, which is open to all attendees from military to industry and everything in between. This event is a great opportunity to network with fellow attendees and sets a tone of camaraderie and collaboration for the next two days.
The meat and potatoes (kielbasa and pierogies?) of the event happen on days two and three, with plenary sessions and roundtables focused on an overarching theme of advancing the development of regional SOF capabilities to complement existing NATO relationships.
We’re delighted to have the following leaders from the region among our list of confirmed speakers:
- Mariusz Błaszczak, Minister of National Defence of the Republic of Poland;
- General Rajmund T. Andrzejczak, Chief of the General Staff of Polish Armed Forces;
- Major General Tamás Sándor, Commander, Special Operations Forces, Service Inspector for Special Operations, Hungary;
- Lieutenant Colonel Miha Rijavec, SOF Commander, Slovenia;
- Colonel Branislav Benka, SOF Commander, Slovakia;
- Hubert Krolikowski, Professor, Department of Political and International Studies – University of Krakow;
- Dr Rob de Wijk – The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies.
In addition to the educational sessions, there will be ample time to continue networking with and learning from the exhibiting vendors, who will have their wares and capabilities on display in the expo hall.
The full conference agenda can be viewed at https://www.gsofeurope.org/agenda.
Engaging with Industry Capabilities
This event annually brings together stakeholders from across the SOF community to network, explore topical developments, and advance capabilities and partnerships within the European market. Attendees also include a selection of industry exhibitors, with participating organizations sharing their latest products and services supporting SOF across Europe and beyond.
We’re very excited for the expo hall this year, as this is our first time partnering with Clarion Events. Based in the UK and a goliath in the events industry, the Global SOF team is thrilled to harness their expertise and European connections to make this our best European expo to date.
A Global SOF Partner shows his technology to the procurement head for Belgian Defence in 2019.
Tracy Bebbington, the Event Director from Clarion Events, commented, “Our partnership brings together the leading SOF advocacy organisation and our vast experience in creating events that provide key forums for the communities they serve, and we look forward to continuing the European SOF conversation in Poland in October.”
If you’re from industry and you want to be part of this conversation, please reach out to the Clarion team for more information on a spot in the expo hall or a unique sponsorship.
- North America Sales: Doug Schlam at Doug.Schlam@clarionevents.com
- European/ROW Sales: Max Webster at Max.Webster@clarionevents.com
Get On Board
To end on a quote from Poland’s BG Drumowicz:
“I do hope 2020 will be remembered because of the sophisticated, mutually beneficial and intellectually stimulating conference, not because of COVID-19 pandemic. Please feel very welcome to join us, hope to see you all in Warsaw.”
Stay safe and healthy, and we look forward to seeing you!