TAMPA, Fla. – Now that the dust has settled, organizers of last week’s 2016 Special Operations Forces Industry Conference are claiming victory.
Organized by the National Defense Industrial Association, the annual convention provides a forum for military, government, academia and industry stakeholders to network, collaborate and discuss current and future initiatives for supporting Special Operations Forces.
And this year, more than 10,000 attendees and 400 exhibitors filled the Tampa Convention Center from May 23–26 to take part in the discussion.
“The industrial base is an indispensable SOF partner that continues to innovate and develop new technologies that will give our forces the advantage to decisively win,” said U.S. Special Operations Commander, Gen. Raymond Thomas III. “This week was an opportunity to gather all the components of the special operations force enterprise to share collective ideas and explore our future together.”
The conference included panel discussions regarding acquisition requirements, operations, and technology needs in the context of SOF’s global missions. Other topics included perspectives on SOF requirements, trends, future needs and how industry partners can contribute solutions and new capabilities.
Department of Defense officials also provided brief updates on the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (often called the military’s Iron Man Suit). The five-minute “solutions” session was not open to the public or press, though the SOFIC agenda said the session was focused on “creative solutions to the development of TALOS—an integrated combat suit for the future SOF operator.” Specifically, the session focused on topics related to C4I (command, control, communications, computers, intelligence), operator interface, and visual augmentation systems.
“The overview of TALOS was open to the media and public, but the five-minute solution sessions were closed to the media and required advanced registration,” said Ashley Saunders, NDIA director of public relations and communications.
Video footage of SOFIC is available at YouTube.com/SOFICTV.