Somehow, it’s June. We’re with you… we don’t know how it happened either. But since it’s officially summer and the heat in Tampa is really cranking up, we flew the team up to DC.

Well, that’s not really the reason, although it WAS a nice reprieve from the Tampa weather… read on to see why we really went to the U.S. Capital.

A Workshop…not a Listen-Shop

The main event this week was our Multinational Information and Intelligence Sharing Workshop. The GSF has teamed up with the U.S. Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence (OUSD-I) on a project that aims to identify barriers, constraints, and gaps that frustrate fast and effective information sharing in multinational environments.

Small Groups Make Big Differences

This full-day, unclassified workshop is just one part of that project, during which we identified capabilities and solutions to mitigate or eliminate barriers, constraints, or gaps associated with people, processes, technology, and policy. It was preceded by a focused online survey, which was taken by over 300 respondents from 45 nations.

WWT, one of our Founding Partners, was kind enough to host the workshop in their amazing rooftop venue and offices in the heart of D.C. Around 40 participants arrived for the workshop from different U.S. and international military commands and organizations.

The morning kicked off with Mr. Garry Reid, the Director for Defense Intelligence (Counterintelligence, Law Enforcement, and Security) at OUSD-I. He opened by stating that there is a “strong synergy between the intelligence community and special operations.”

Small Groups Make Big Differences
Mr. Garry Reid, the Director for Defense Intelligence (Counterintelligence, Law Enforcement, and Security) at OUSD-I.

He talked about how the SOF community has led the initiatives defense-wide to increase information sharing and collaboration, and the success of that is a testament to the ability of small groups to make big differences. “‘No’ is often just someone’s first offer, and SOF doesn’t always accept that. Persistence is key,” he said.

After a quick briefing, attendees were divided into three different working groups to tackle different focus areas. They were divided up by our lead project facilitator, Dr. Keenan Yoho, the GSF Vice President.

“It’s a WORKshop, not a sleep-shop or a listen-shop,” Keenan told everyone before they left for their breakout groups.

Besides a brief break for a delicious lunch (courtesy of our favorite D.C.-based catering company, MK Catering), the attendees really did work! There were two break-out sessions, both over two hours long, followed by synthesis sessions with the whole team where each group presented their findings.

As one attendee said, “This is a hot topic right now, so this event is really well timed.” And another noted that “it’s a rare opportunity to have access to this group of people to discuss this important topic for a whole day.”

The workshop ended with a review of the next steps, which will include follow-ups and ultimately a series of policy papers.

Conquering the Forecast

If you know the GSF, you know that we rarely host a working event that doesn’t end with a little fun! Since we were already at WWT’s lovely rooftop space, we invited all of our Corporate Partners to come join the workshop attendees for some food and beverages (which we want to thank our Partner Veeam for sponsoring).

Small Groups Make Big Differences

Despite the dreary forecast for the day, it ended up being a lovely evening to be on the roof! We had over 70 attendees from our Corporate Partner companies, government, and local friend groups join us to mingle and enjoy the delish catering.

As our friend Rich Efird of WWT said, “There’s a good crowd, good conversation, good music…I don’t know what more you could ask for!”

We as the GSF team certainly couldn’t ask for much more, especially since we had our whole team together, including some long-term members of our network who were critical to the progress of the USD(I) study.

Small Groups Make Big Differences
(L to R) Jeff Goble, Keenan Yoho, Meaghan Keeler-Pettigrew (MKP), Stu Bradin, Catlyn Smith, MA Yourchisin, Steve Jones, and Chelsea Hamashin.

Although, one crucial member of our team was missing….

Meanwhile, in Normandy…

That’s right, we were missing Rick Lamb, our Director of Partner Relations! Rick has over forty years of experience in the military and government and has participated in almost every major combat operation spanning Operation EAGLE CLAW through Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.

But last week, Rick got to check off a serious bucket list item… he was one of the Veterans who conducted a reenactment jump from a WWII-era plane, a C-47 “Tico Belle,” on the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

“I was the first Paratrooper out of the C47 with a good long door position! Jump went well, will probably do it again,” Rick told us in his initial email.

He was in good company with his fellow Veterans and friends from American Freedom Distillery–who we also have to thank for the awesome photos!

Small Groups Make Big Differences

Stay tuned for videos and podcasts about this amazing jump/day/week!

Bring us on your Commute

Speaking of our podcast, it’s the start of new week and we’re happy to say that we have some good food for your commutes!

Last week we published TWO new podcasts… take a listen, and if you like us please subscribe and stay tuned as we talk to people from all parts of the SOF spectrum.

Episode #9: Rethink Our National Security with Congressman Seth Moulton

Meaghan Keeler-Pettigrew and Steve Jones from the Global SOF team sat down with Congressman Seth Moulton to discuss his views on the U.S. Defense Strategy, ranging from how the budget should be allocated to cyber warfare to the approach to global defense organizations like NATO. See what the Congressman, who is running for the Democratic Nomination for President, has to say in this week’s episode.

Small Groups Make Big Differences

Episode #10: The New Great Game with The Honorable Sharon Burke

Members of the Global SOF team sat down with The Honorable Sharon Burke, a senior advisor at New America and former assistant secretary of defense for operational energy. We talked about the challenges of the thawing operational environment in the Arctic, the various competitive spaces around natural resources, and worldwide effects of climate change.

Thanks for listening, and we’ll be back with more soon!

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