TAMPA, Fla., May 18, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nearly 11,000 government and industry professionals attended the 2017 Special Operations Forces Industry Conference and Exhibition (SOFIC), held May 15-18 at the Tampa Convention Center in Florida.
Hosted by the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA), the conference is a venue for those in the military, government, academia, and industry to network and discuss the challenges facing Special Operations Forces (SOF).
For four days, attendees took part in exclusive discussions and sessions that gave them a greater view into working with U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) in support of SOF. Here, attendees could discuss priorities, business opportunities, and desired capabilities.
The conference included panels made up of USSOCOM's component commanders and one of the sub-unified command commanders; experts in Science & Technology and Acquisitions, Technology & Logistics; the SOFWERX program and Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) industry; Senior Executives; and Program Executive Officers and Managers; and small business program representatives.
Highpoints this year included the debut of Operation SOFtalk, a well-attended event that encouraged casual networking during a reception at the historic Ritz Ybor theatre. Guests had the pleasure of a performance by country music artist Rodney Atkins, thanks to Title Sponsor CACI International Inc, and Special Operations Warrior Foundation benefited from the proceeds of a raffle. Selex Galileo was a supporting sponsor of this event, and ITility was a raffle sponsor.
The Innovation Showcase concept stood out for special recognition. The event gave chosen companies 10 minutes to shine the spotlight on their innovations to the SOF community.
"SOCOM is looking for companies that can take them to the next level, thinking five to 10 years out into the future, so we requested applications from new innovative companies who could support that vision," explained NDIA's Christine Klein, senior vice president of meetings.
"We received more than 200 applications for the 30 slots that were available here at SOFIC," she said. "NDIA filled 20 of those slots, and SOFWERX, which is SOCOM's local partner, filled 10 slots. Speakers for our 20 slots presented earlier this week, and today are the 10 slots filled by SOFWERX."
"It's been a very popular event with the right people being in the room," she said. "We worked with SOCOM to ensure that the people with Acquisitions, Technology & Logistics, who might purchase some of those systems, were present. It's been a wonderful opportunity for all of the creative innovators to do business with USSOCOM."
The entire show's value to USSOCOM is beyond measure, according to Acquisition Executive James Geurts, who called SOFIC "a premier venue for us every year." Geurts was a featured speaker at several SOFIC events, namely those about the intricacy of working with SOCOM.
At SOFIC, "SOF Operators, our acquisition professionals, industry, academia, and our foreign partners can gather together to talk about the challenging problems we have, and work together in collaboration on solutions to those problems," he said.
Such collaboration "ensures we are equipping and supporting our special operators to the best of our ability, so they can perform the important missions that the nation has asked them to," he said.
More than 400 companies big and small were represented in the Exhibit Hall, showing their products for the SOF community in 935 booths that also included nonprofit groups, military divisions, educators and the like. Among the offerings were the latest technologies, enhanced capability offerings, training systems, vehicles and aircraft, and individual equipment.
Next year's SOFIC is planned for May 21-24, 2018.
Additional information and content available on SOFIC.org and YouTube.com/SOFICTV
About NDIA: The National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) is the trusted leader in defense and national security associations. As a 501(c)3 corporate and individual membership association, NDIA engages thoughtful and innovative leaders to exchange ideas, information and capabilities that lead to the development of the best policies, practices, products and technology to ensure the safety and security of our nation. NDIA's membership embodies the full spectrum of corporate, government, academic and individual stakeholders who form a vigorous, responsive and collaborative community in support of defense and national security. For more information, visit www.ndia.org.
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