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Notes from Day 2 of the 2013 Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (15 May 2013)

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Wednesday morning saw the USSOCOM Component (Service) Commanders candidly identify for SOFIC attendees exactly where they see current and future requirements driving their SOF Component (Service) focus and budgets.  

Following are some of the more provocative insights offered:

​Spending Priorities

  • RADM Sean Pybus, NAVSOC: We will be using existing systems to the very end of their lifetimes, but we can maintain, improve, and accessorize our current systems.
  • Lt. Gen Eric Fiel, AFSOC: With current operations, we have gotten out of balance with our O&M and our materiel investment accounts… We don’t have sufficient investment money in the budget… over the next few cycles you will see us try to put that back in balance.
  • RADM Sean Pybus, NAVSOC: There is equipment that are our partners have that it better than what we have – and we need to address that.
  • LTG Charles Cleveland, USASOC: What we built to fight in the last two wars is not what we need in the future, so we are reshaping our force. 

ISR Needs

  • LTG Joseph Votel, USA -- Our major need is Plug and Play ISR, HD FMV… we don’t need more systems with their own aircraft… we need systems that readily plug and play with what we have.
  • Lt. Gen Eric Fiel, USAF – AFSOC: We are way too invested in permissive ISR… what I need is non-permissive ISR for the A2AD environment.

SOF Retrograde from Theaters of Engagement

  • LTG Charles Cleveland, USASOC: With our surge to CENTCOM, we have had to sacrifice our deeper regional expert focus in other areas.  We need to rebalance that.
  • RADM Sean Pybus, NAVSOC: We have depended heavily on contractors in the theaters of war.  We will lean out our force with the retrograde from war and will depend more on SOF Forces (than on contractors) moving forward.

  • Lt. Gen Eric Fiel, AFSOC: Contractor support is resourced by OCO (supplemental war funding), so if/when OCO goes away, then contractor support goes away… we will find other things to spend money on.

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