In contrast to other recent
defense industry conferences, this year’s Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC) appears packed with
operators and industry representatives who seem to believe that SOF forces may represent a relatively safe haven from the
budget cuts currently buffeting the sector.
Indeed, some 336 companies are touting their products and services to some 7,000 attendees
via some 87,500 square feet of Convention Center display space that DSJ is told was sold out in week's time. (300 companies
were on the waiting list.) A standing room-only opening session crowd heard SOCOM’s outgoing Acquisition Executive
James Cluck relate that:
- SOCOM last year exceeded virtually all of its lofty goals for small business contracts / utilization and
this will remain an emphasis.
- The reorganization of its budget accounts into 45% fewer (RDT&E and Procurement) budget
lines means that SOCOM will have greater flexibility to move funding within accounts without reprogramming requiring Congressional
- Declining RDT&E funding ahead means that SOCOM must change its business model in order to encourage industry to
invest internally in the R&D that SOCOM will need in the future. CRADAs are a good tool for doing this,
and SOCOM has more than ever.
- Declining funds represent a “real opportunity” because the less money we have the
more innovative we become.”