The third day of the Global SOF Symposium is shorter, but it packs a punch.  We opened with a Small Business Committee meeting, expertly run by its new Chair, Mr. Tony Quartararo from Spatial Networks.  Spatial Networks is a GSF Small Business Partner and was also our Symposium Water Bottle Sponsor.  Mr. Quartararo, who also happens to be one of our best social media connectors, led a group of 20+ members of our small business community in an hour long discussion focused on the committee’s path forward into 2017.

“We’re looking at the U.S. Special Forces as a model, but we have to model our SOF according to our needs and resources,” said Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă, the Romanian Chief of Defense, during the next event—a panel entitled, “The Future of SOF & Conventional Forces Integration.”  Moderated by the GSF’s own Vice President, Dr. Keenan Yoho, this panel also featured Lieutenant General (Ret) In Bum Chun, from the Republic of Korea, Major General William C. Hix, of the U.S. Army, and Brigadier General Hans Ilis-Alm, of Sweden.

This group discussed the many benefits of cross-collaboration and joint training among Partner Nation SOF, about which Major General Hix said that, “creating transparency creates synergy and momentum in an operation.”

After the panel concluded (and a short coffee break, sponsored by Fluor), we were proud to welcome General Ciucă back to the stage for a keynote speech. General Ciucă talked in detail about the “complex transformation” that the Romanian military is seeing to meet the world’s emerging hybrid threats.  He said that in order to get there, “we have to develop a Romanian Special Operations Command, and organize and realign the already existing Romanian SOF structures, under that single joint command.”

General Ciucă wrapped up his remarks with an invitation to all in attendance to join him at the Global SOF Symposium that will be taking place in Europe from September 27-28 this fall.  It’s (probably) not every day that a nation’s Chief of Defense personally invites you to an event!  These remarks were the first public discussion of Romania’s plan to transform its SOF organization, a process that will begin this year under General Ciucă’s leadership.

While that concluded our General Sessions, we provided a few more opportunities for discussion to our attendees, starting with breakout sessions focused on Maritime & Littoral, Aviation and Airborne ISR, and Land.  These sessions were based around the GSF Capabilities Catalog—which is a living document that the GSF has developed to collect, organize, and prioritize SOF capabilities.  These groups were brought in to discuss the catalog and ultimately work on improvements and the best ways to utilize the document.

The Maritime group focused on filling out the catalog, which involves prioritizing the capabilities listed within.  That group had members of both Japanese and U.S. SOF contribute.  In the Land group, they read through the relevant sections of the catalog, and members of the group promised to provide feedback digitally—including members of Belgium’s SOF.  The Aviation and Airborne ISR group featured an hour-long discussion on ways to improve, reorganize and utilize the Capabilities Catalog.  There were many Subject Matter Experts in the room—from the U.S., Estonia, Germany, and Israel—and while they all agreed that the catalog was a great starting point we know that it’s going to grow.

The final session of the Symposium was limited to just government representatives—from any nation—so that they could have an opportunity to discuss issues from solely a governmental perspective.  They gathered together for a working lunch and conversation led by Dr. Yoho and supported by The

Honorable Alisa Stack, Principal Director for Special Operations and Irregular Warfare for the U.S. Department of Defense.  While we can’t disclose what was discussed, we heard that it was a very productive session.

Like the well-oiled machine that we are, the GSF, Innisbrook, and eventPower staffs smoothly tore down and packed up the Symposium’s supporting elements.  We then hit the Innisbrook poolside to reflect on the event and get some much-needed R&R, knowing that we’ll soon be back to work!

Thank you again to everyone that attended, and please be sure to take our event surveys to help us improve and gauge our community’s opinion on key issues.

– “Insights to Outcomes” Survey, Sponsored by Accenture: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FDHX2RK
– Global SOF Symposium Survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FDX8ZV6