This year’s SOFIC conference was an exciting event and every bit as good as prior years. The combined efforts of NDIA and USSOCOM account for that. There was, as always, a wealth of information transferred. If you are a small business and aspire to do business with USSOCOM, SOFIC 2013 and NDIA membership are a must. More so than the Big Army, Navy and Air Force, USSOCOM goes out of its way to empower small business; however, your first stop is the TILO Office. The business climate going forward is “meet USSOCOM needs;” nice to have will not cut it and if you want to know what those needs are SOFIC and TILO is the place to do it.
USSOCOM is currently deployed in about 80 countries around the world and the force is starting to show a bit more than fraying around the edges. The country is placing increasing demands on the SOF community without putting its money where its mouth is. By my estimation, ±30% of SOF capabilities are derived from the “Big” services and Sequester is taking its toll.
In spite of DoD wide fiscal challenges, USSOCOM has as its number one priority Force Preservation; taking care of the service member and his or her family. Holding a number two spot on its list of priorities is networking. I don’t mean that in the IP sense but rather in social networking. Partnering across the globe so that partner nations are capable of taking the fight to insurgents and terrorist organizations. To accomplish this goal, SOF operators will need to undergo a transformation from kinetic operators to diplomats; language skills and cultural awareness will become tools of their trade. Excellent opportunity for cultural anthropologists and for computer-aided curricula to help SOF personnel acclimate.
The need to collaborate with partner nations across the globe will require significant improvements to communications and information sharing so you can expect C4ISR remaining a high priority on the acquisition side. Mobility is also an area of interest for USSOCOM. Folks part of Naval Surface War (NSW) recognize the need to begin to transition Navy SEAL teams back to their genetic origins. Future SEAL operations will increasingly involve waterborne activity.
Other priorities include signature reduction technologies and technologies that make the operator safer, more comfortable and more effective.
If you are not already an NDIA member consider joining and reap the benefit of collaboration, solidarity and knowledge! Take my word for it, it’s worth the investment.