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Tony Davis - Insights on SOCOM S&T Directorate 

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Anthony Davis (anthony.davis@socom.mil) who runs the SOCOM S&T Directorate spoke at SOFIC on Wednesday, 25 May.  Key points and observations:

     SOCOM S&T Objective: "Discover, enable and transition technologies to provide an asymmetric advantage for Special Operations Forces."

     S&T Projects: SOCOM runs between 80-100 S&T projects at a time with its relatively meager funding - $500 million.  Industry responds to, and experimentation stems from SOCOM's annual Broad Agency Announcement (BAA).  Last year SOCOM S&T received 145 White Papers and can invest in about 20-25 of these annually.

     Technology Experimentation (TE) allows SOCOM leaders and operators to look closely at technologies/systems from Industry.  There are several week-long events each year with distinct areas of focus – current ones are: urban/unconventional warfare (July 2016 in Camp Atterbury, IN), maritime surface systems (September 2016, Little Creek, VA).  Next year there will be an underwater platform focus.  A BAA will be released looking for submissions in line with capability objectives.  Between 50-100 technologies/systems are demonstrated during each TE and there is collaboration between the vendors at each event. 

     PEO Technology Insertion Roadmaps - comprise 50% of BAA targets, with specific areas of focus identified in each SOCOM PEO area - C4, Fixed Wing, Maritime, Rotary Wing, SRSE, and SOF Warrior 

     SOFWERX (sofwerx.org) is set up as an open, unclassified collaboration space with a number of missions: (a) screen vendors and technologies; (b) build the network of non-traditional suppliers to protect the network; (c) rapid prototyping of ideas.  SOFWERX sponsors a range of weekly events.

     Project Vulcan is a pilot development of a Technology Domain Awareness innovation platform jointly developed with the DoD Information Analysis Centers (IACs).  Its intent is to provide a central respository for SOCOM to have awareness of industry developments.

     Largest SOCOM technology gaps are three: (1) How we step up our game in social media interaction.  There is lots of attention on how we can better understand our environment and interact as successfully as we can. (2) Cyber is a huge area of growth in the DoD and in SOCOM, particularly in a tactical sense to protect small units.  (3) Small UAS - swarming, how we make them more autonomous and grow that capability.... and how we defend against that capability.