Like the rest of the United States (and much of the world), the GSF has been very focused on the US Capital and the many activities within.
However, we haven’t been completely overtaken by the mid-term elections or the announcement of the new Amazon HQ—our focus has been on attending enriching events and convening our community (a few times) in the greater D.C. area.
A Warm WWT Welcome
GSF President Stu Bradin braved the cold and joined our permanent resident, Director of Partner Relations Steve Jones, for an exclusive opening event of a new facility for World Wide Technology (WWT)— a GSF Founding Partner.
WWT’s Washington D.C. Innovation Center is an interactive space designed to accelerate the implementation of cutting-edge technology across the federal government.
Steve said that The Innovation Center is a very impressive space that has the ability to evaluate hundreds of technologies in one location, “making it a powerful tool to conduct proofs of concept that truly allow for innovation.”
And of course, WWT provided their customary warm welcome! They were great hosts and it was nice to see so many industry partners and friends in D.C. Thank you, WWT, for allowing the Global SOF Foundation to participate in this important moment!
Steve attended two other DC-based events focused on a current hot topic–drones!
The first was “InfraGardNCR,” which was held in honor of Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month (CISRM), which builds awareness and appreciation of the importance of critical infrastructure and reaffirms the nationwide commitment to keep our critical infrastructure and our communities safe and secure. Cathy Lanier, the CSO and VP of Security for the NFL, led the discussion about her challenges and successes in securing high visibility game locations. Steve was impressed by what she had to say, so made sure to get us a photo for the blog!
It was a day of smart discussion that was primarily about the potential use of drones by malicious actors.
The second event was held on Veteran’s Day weekend and called “Drone Industry Senior Networking.” This event brought together around 80 drone industry experts, executives, leaders, and veterans, and featured some private demonstrations along with Veteran’s Day recognitions.
The GSF is working to incorporate more “demo” opportunities at future GSF events, so stay tuned for information on where we’re going with that!
The 2018 SOF Policy Forum
The second annual Special Operations Policy Forum was an invite-only event hosted at New America, a think tank based in the heart of Washington, D.C. The forum was also supported by Arizona State University, Daniel Morgan Graduate School, Raytheon, and of course–the Global SOF Foundation.
This half-day session focused on a variety of topics in a panel-discussion format, including “The Use of Proxy Forces in Modern Warfare,” “Artificial Intelligence in the Gray Space,” and “Iran’s Proxy Warfare Strategy.”
During a lunch full of delicious sandwich options, including a holiday preparatory Thanksgiving Sandwich, Mr. Norm Abdallah of GSF Corporate Partner AC4S noted that he was very impressed with the speakers so far, saying “they have all been very interesting.” And this was even before the GSF’s COO Meaghan Keeler-Pettigrew took the stage to introduce one of the panels! #GoMKP
The topic of AI was one of those interesting discussions. Mr. Erik Grant of Raytheon spoke specifically about how “SOF operators will carry AI on their person…they will take AI to the edge.” Kristin Sharp noted that AI, for the most part, “will augment their human capabilities, not replace them.”
If you’d like to see more of what was discussed during the Forum–you’re in luck! You can watch the full video recording at this link.
Daniel Morgan Graduate School — Academic Partnership & Events
Following the SOF Policy Forum, a group of GSF Corporate Partners and international officers headed to nearby Daniel Morgan Graduate School (DMGS), which specializes in “tailoring graduate degree programs to the specific needs of students who are serving or seeking a career in the US national security community.”
This was DMGS’ first GSF Field Trip, and we had a great crew representing everything from Romanian SOF to GSF Corporate Partner AC4S, and we all gathered to learn about DMGS’ impressive offerings for those seeking degrees in national security.
The Annual GSF NCR Reception
Wednesday the 14th of November brought the week’s main event–the 5th GSF National Capital Region Reception. We like to do something in the U.S. Capital to bring together a SOF-focused group that we don’t always get to see, including Congressional Staffers and Defense Attaches.
This year was at a new (to us) venue–the Crystal Gateway Marriott. It’s a big venue, so we’re very grateful to our Partner Insitu for supporting the event as a Wayfinding Sponsor. We had floor stickers, posters, escalator decals–you couldn’t miss it! As one of our favorites, Eileen Parise excitedly exclaimed, “There’s no way anyone could have gotten lost getting here!” Thank you Insitu, and thank you, Eileen!
We had another Sponsor–Worldwide Risk Management, a GSF Partner who generously supported as a Bronze Sponsor. They provided us with the event napkins to keep us fresh, and we watched a video about their capabilities right before the Keynote Remarks. You can see that video (and more) on our Partner Capabilities video library.
The Honorable Susan M. Gordon, the current Principal Deputy Director for National Intelligence, was welcomed to the stage by GSF Board Member Al Di Leonardo (thank you, Al!), and she spoke for around 15 minutes about the ties between the Intelligence and SOF communities. She specifically took some time to discuss the differences and similarities in the different threats around the globe from an intelligence perspective.
Most importantly, this event was an opportunity for 150 engaged members of the SOF and defense communities to strengthen relationships through both casual conversations and discussions of opportunities for collaboration! Thank you to all who attended!
Odds and Ends
It was clearly a busy week(ish) for our team… and we didn’t even mention a whole slew of things, like:
- Stu and Rick Lamb driving all the way from Tampa to DC, in the standard tour- de- Southeast-Coast in the “STU-Haul.”
- Our amazing lunch at the Army and Navy Club, kindly hosted for us by our dear friend Magne Rodahl of Norway. Magne is always exceedingly charming and kind,and he shared kind remarks about the GSF and our truly global focus as we enjoyed some delicious fare (shout out to the Crab Cakes)!
- The Inter-American Defense Board making Meaghan’s day! They treated her like a Queen, including a beautiful bouquet and professional photographs (this is not one of those photographs). They were also very receptive to the GSF mission and are excited to work together.
- Stu, Rick, and Steve stopping by Ft. Bragg and the surrounding area to do a site survey for some new event additions and developments for next year.
OH, AND IT SNOWED.
Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you all at the next event… the Joint Holiday Social that we hold each year with partner organizations in Tampa. It’s free for members of any of the host organizations, so it’s definitely worth the time!