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In 2015 the Global SOF Foundation (GSF) Capabilities Committee decided that they wanted to establish an event closer to the tactical formations so they were not required to travel to attend. The GSF took this on and worked through all of the legal hurdles and logistical issues to get a Memorandum of Agreement between the United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) and the GSF to “jointly” host the first Modern Warfare Symposium on Fort Bragg, North Carolina, 21 – 23 August 2018.

If you look at other events, they are often run by trade associations that are focused on exhibits in large convention centers where industry sits in booths waiting for some government employee to visit. Unfortunately, many of these events are sparsely attended by government employees. Additionally, they are often not the right government employee for the vendor to talk to.

For the 2018 Modern Warfare Symposium and Expo we agreed to make the agenda the priority to ensure we brought in key Army leaders to talk about things that mattered to the Army and to have “focused” industry participation. This is the first time we have done this event, and we have found out that this approach is not the norm.

The timing and location of the event is solid because the symposium is being held at the Fort Bragg’s Iron Mike Conference Center, a Moral Welfare and Recreation (MWR) facility. The facility is modern and it is in close proximity to ALL of the USASOC commands. It also is being held after all of the summer changes of command and vacations. People remind me that it will be hot, but I submit that it is hot everywhere in the US so to us the heat is not an issue – just drink water!

Lt. Gen. Kenneth E. Tovo relinquishes USASOC command to Lt. Gen. Francis M. Beaudette at Meadows Field, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, June 8, 2018.
Lt. Gen. Francis M. Beaudette, who took command of USASOC this summer, will provide keynote remarks.

What I love about the agenda for the 2018 Modern Warfare Symposium is 50% of the focus is on conventional forces and their relationship with SOF. The speakers are some of the best in their fields and you could not find more senior Army leaders at an event like this. USASOC is also hosting some of their annual senior leader’s conference in the same week. We expect to have a lot of principal staff officers and senior NCOs from USASOC, JSOC, FORSCOM, 18th Airborne Corps an US ARMY TRADOC. The setup of the facility provides us with roughly 500 seats; 250 seats will go to USASOC for military / government, and the GSF has the other 250 seats.

Inside the Fort Bragg Conference Center, in an adjacent room, the GSF is hosting a small expo with focused vendors. The expo is small, but the vendors exhibiting are bringing forward capabilities that USASOC and the Army will appreciate. Currently we are close to selling out the expo and the 250 seats available to non-uniforms.

If you want to exhibit then you best move fast! And if you have not registered to attend then I encourage you to go to https://www.globalsofsymposium.org/mws to look at the agenda and register. This is a different type of event where the agenda matters because it brings together leaders to talk about issues that matter to them.

Knowing the Army challenges provides insight into the largest component of US SOF and the largest service in DoD. Spending two days in close proximity to these leaders while they talk about serious matters is not what you will find in a normal trade show. If you want different, then you need to attend.

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