Last fall, the National Defense Industrial Association announced that there wouldn’t be a Special Operations Forces Industry Conference in 2023. It was kind of like someone cancelling Christmas. But never fear, while it’s true that there won’t be a SOFIC, there will be an event focused on USSOCOM this May.
The Global SOF Foundation will, for at least the next few years, host SOF Week on behalf of United States Special Operations Command.
Bottom Line Up Front: SOF Week will continue the industry focused programming that was a staple of SOFIC, to include PEO briefings, PEO one-on-one meetings, SOCOM Acquisition focused briefings, and the Acquisition Executive Keynote.
This year, SOF Week is 8-11 May, 2023 at the SOF Week Campus, which primarily includes the Tampa Convention Center, Tampa Marriott Water Street, Tampa Westin Waterside, the Tampa JW Marriott, and surrounding areas. Although it’s a little earlier in the month than in years past, it’s in the same location.
Many in industry are concerned that there hasn’t been much communication from GSOF or their tradeshow partner Clarion Defense regarding booth space. This is because it has taken longer than expected to work out all of the details with USSOCOM. But things are now moving along at a brisk pace.
This year offers to be bigger than ever and in response GSOF has increased floor space for vendors. However, demand is at an all-time high and space is selling out very quickly. GSOF tells me the list for space requests included over 1,000 companies; literally.
You can see the current floorplan for yourself… click the drop down under “Maps” to see both floors here.
However, GSOF hears your concerns and is working to offer other opportunities for Industry like Industry Matchmaking and reservable meeting space.
Which brings me to my next point. Who better to run SOF Week? With GSOF in charge, many of us feel that the event is home, being organized and presented by former members of the the various SOF components.
As it evolves SOF Week will better align with the Command and its goals of engagement. SOF Week not only encompasses the industry conference and capabilities demonstration that many are accustomed to, but there are generally other Command events during the week.
Having said that, there won’t be a big capabilities demonstration, Commander’s Conference, or international SOF conference this year; SOCOM runs that event, and it only runs on even years. So, it will be back in 2024 and is fully directed by USSOCOM.
However, within this week-long framework, GSOF will work with USSOCOM to enhance the experience by providing additional opportunities for attendees including transition programming, professional development, internationally focused panels, and academic discussions.
Over the next few weeks we’ll focus on SOF Week and various new features for participants, both government and industry alike.
Please spread the word, “SOFIC Is Dead! Long Live SOF Week!”
Visit www.sofweek.org for more information.
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