USSOCOM Fields Innovative Technology at SOFWERX

By Ryan Granato, analyst

Demand for new communications and network capabilities for both the Command and the operator are of the highest priority for USSOCOM these days and were oft-repeated themes during the recent Special Operations Forces Industry Conference. SOFIC has turned into the event where industry and government converge every year to showcase current capabilities and discuss mission-related technology challenges.

According to Jim Smith, USSOCOM’s acquisition executive, current communication requirements revolve around issues such as network visibility, assured communications and reduced digital signature to avoid detection in operating environments. Solutions that address IoT and edge computing complement the command’s need for a fully-connected and sensor-enabled operator. In doing business with USSOCOM, Smith emphasized the importance of utilizing SOFWERX.

USSOCOM typically fields new capabilities at a rate much higher than their counterparts. However, technology continues to advance at a rate that traditional government acquisition processes cannot keep pace with. In response, USSOCOM launched SOFWERX, a technology incubator of its own to increase government and industry collaboration through a variety of USSOCOM-hosted projects and events. Kelly Stratton-Feix, director of Acquisition Agility at SOFWERX, stated that the immediate priorities set forth for SOFWERX are shorter procurement cycles and increased support of small businesses.

During the conference, representatives doubled down on previous statements that the USSOCOM marketplace will be dominated by technologies in network security and visibility, edge computing, hybrid cloud and assured communications for the coming years. More specifically, USSOCOM is looking for solutions that harden network access and identity management, integrate communication systems, expand hybrid cloud capabilities to the operator and provide internet connectivity in denied areas.

Deborah Woods, PEO C4 at USSOCOM, reiterated the current strategy of using and modifying COTS to suit mission requirements, making now a great time to make a play with commercial solutions.

Our market intelligence team sees a growing demand for innovative solutions focused on edge computing, network visibility, and hybrid cloud capabilities throughout government and will be delving deeper into these topics at our upcoming Government IT Sales Summit on November 15.

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