The Editor of SOF News is spending this week covering the SOF Week event in Tampa, Florida. Hosted by the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). This event is packed with everything one would want to see at a SOF conference and exhibition. There are hundreds of defense vendors showing their products and services. The speakers line up for the week is a ‘who’s who’ of the SOF community. The programs and activities for the next three days, the event ends on Thursday afternoon, touch on all aspects of the special operations world.
The venue is the Tampa Convention Center in downtown Tampa. A few of the adjacent hotels are being used for some selected events. The defense vendors are utilizing two exhibition floors at the convention center. The first day’s impression is that this will be an extremely well-run event, with lots of helpful support staff, and excellent physical security measures.
Many of the attendees are from SOF military community – some from USSOCOM located at MacDill Air Force Base here in Tampa as well as from the other military bases in the United States and around the world. In addition, there are attendees from allies and partners, interagency, academia, and the defense industry.
A key feature of SOF Week is the opportunity that USSOCOM has to highlight to defense industry representatives on USSOCOM’s acquisition requirements and priorities to support the National Defense Strategy. This aspect of the event is highlighted in the organization of the exhibits – grouped on the exhibit hall floor(s) by based on the major USSOCOM AT&L Program Executive Officers (PEOs).
The first day (Monday) was setup day for the exhibits. However, SOF Week officially started on Monday with a variety of programs taking place. These included several seminars and presentations geared toward the defense industry representatives. The day concluded with a Partner Nation Meet and Greet and the Global SOF Foundation Reception.
Tuesday the program goes into full swing with a variety of offerings to choose from – as well as the exhibition hall being open for viewing. The day started with welcome remarks from the City of Tampa. Stu Bradin, CEO of the Global SOF Foundation, will follow with his welcome remarks. Then USSOCOM Commander Gen. Bryan Fenton will share his vision for SOF Week and the USSOCOM enterprise. The day will continue with a variety of events and offerings into the evening hours.
For more information visit the SOF Week site at https://www.sofweek.org.