5th SOF Symposium

Synchronizing a Fully Integrated Special Operations Network

October 11-12, 2016, Mary M. Gates Learning Center, Alexandria, VA

DSI’s 2016 SOF Symposium provides a collaborative forum that enables leaders in SOF, conventional military units, Government Agencies, partner nations, industry, academia and other critical partners the ability to discuss the operational needs and strategic implementation of Special Operations Forces in support of advancing military objectives and US National interests throughout the globe.


2016 Symposium Keynote Speakers:

Michael Lumpkin
The Honorable Michael Lumpkin, Director, Global Engagement Center, US Department of State
Lt Gen Thomas Trask, USAF, USAF, Vice Commander, US Special Operations Command
Christopher Maier
Christopher Maier, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Special Operations and Combating Terrorism, ASD, Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict
Lisa Sanders
Lisa Sanders, (Incoming), Director, Science and Technology, SOF AT&L, US Special Operations Command
Patrick Roberson
BG Patrick Roberson, USA, Assistant Commanding General – Operations, US Army 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne)


Additional Speakers Include:

  • Damon Stevens, Middle East Group Chief, NCTC
  • Brigadier General Billy D. Thompson, USAF, Director, Regional Affairs, Office of the Deputy Under Secretary Air Force, International Affairs, HQ USAF
  • John Acree, Director, Office of Civilian-Military Cooperation, USAID

Additional Speakers Include:

  • Ambassador James F. Jeffrey, Philip Solondz Distinguished Fellow, The Washington Institute
  • RADM Ed Winters, USN (Ret), Former Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command


This educational symposium will examine the global environment from the Special Operations Forces perspective. Special Operations Forces (SOF) have not seen a more complex, rapidly evolving, and fractured international system since the end of the Cold War. Transregional issues that continue to unfold in the developing world are further exacerbated by political tensions between developed nations in an increasingly multipolar international system.

In the coming decade, SOF must develop the strategies and capabilities needed to maintain a decisive advantage against threats that employ conventional military aggression, irregular warfare, and criminal enterprise elements to achieve their self-stated goals and objectives. This Symposium will explore SOF’s efforts to suppress violent non-state actors, as well as address the growing political tensions that have emerged as countries become more aggressive in asserting their influence. This year’s event will also reflect on lessons learned in the Middle East, providing a specific focus on identifying new ways to counter dynamic and resilient threats in complex operating environments.


Previous SOF Event Photos – 175+ Participants


Exhibit and Sponsorship Information: The 5th Annual SOF Symposium provides opportunities including exhibit space, round table discussions, product demonstrations, and networking receptions. For more information on exhibit & sponsorship visit: Sponsors & Supporters Page.

2016 Topics to Include:

  • The evolution of special operations in an increasingly dynamic and changing threat environment
  • Improving civil-military partnership efforts to overcome operational challenges in contested environments
  • Enhancing the ability to see, assess, and understand the physical, cognitive, and moral frames within the strategic operating environment
  • Developing, coordinating, and overseeing the implementation of global policies and recommendations concerning national security and regional stability
  • Challenges to providing greater access to regions in conflict to establish greater connective tissue in a complex and volatile international system
  • Bolstering US influence over the terrorist/counterterrorist informational battlefield
  • Strengthening partnership capacity to provide greater ISR, precision strike, and IO capabilities in support of SOF operations
  • Bolstering SOF’s ability to operate unobtrusively with a small footprint in contested environments
  • Perceiving the emerging challenges, threats and opportunities for adversarial campaigns in Gray Zone conflicts
  • Near-term perspectives on emerging procedures, equipment and technology in support of SOF operations

Why Attend

  • Gain Education & Insight: Walk away with knowledge gained from our senior level speakers on some of the complex challenges facing military leaders and Special Operations Forces in a dynamic and constantly evolving international system.
  • Build Partnerships: The agenda is designed to allow for ample networking opportunities and the ability to discover some the latest technologies helping SOF achieve mission objectives in a complex operating environment.
  • Influence: Help foster ideas! Share your own insight and knowledge during our interactive sessions. All attendees are given the opportunity to address our speaker faculty with their questions or comments and will receive a pre-symposium questionnaire for precise questions and subject matters you would like our speakers to address.

Operating Guidance for Government Attendees

DSI’s Symposium directly supports DoD, Military Services, and federal priorities by providing a conduit for officials to efficiently reach audiences outside of their respective offices that directly impact their department’s mission success, at no charge to the government, and in an efficient expenditure of time.

DSI’s Symposium will provide a forum to address and improve internal and external initiatives, meet with and hear from partner organizations, disseminate vital capability requirements to industry, increase visibility within the larger community, and generally support their mission.
The Symposium is open and complimentary to all DoD and Federal employees and is considered an educational and training forum. (Industry and academia members are charged a fee for admission)


Past Participating Organizations
IAP Worldwide Services, Inc., Special Boat Team 20, Harris Wireless Corporation, NRL, DHS/Verification Division, NGA, Criterion Systems, Federal Resources/4th ANGLICO, Northrop Grumman, Beacon Global Strategies, Lockheed Martin, JANUS Research Group, Signature Science LLC, Joint Staff IW, USSOCOM J6X, Northrop Grumman, US Coast Guard St. Michael’s Inc, JHU-APL, The Eagles Wings Foundation, McLeod Group, LLC, St. Michael’s Inc, L-3 NSS CAIAC USAF, Harris Corporation, US Congress, Virginia Army National Guard, US State Department, DoD, Naval Special Warfare Command, Defense Group Inc., iDirect Government, L-3 TCS L-3 Aerospace Systems, USSOCOM, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, KEYW Corporation, Joint Staff IW, IBM, Boeing, Starlite Aviation Group, IBM, SES GS, The MITRE Corporation USNWC, Decision Technologies Inc, SPAWAR Systems Center Atlantic, The Boeing Company, OTI, USAID, Lockheed Martin, AeroVironment, Inc, Atlantic Council, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Emerging Technology Support, ProSol, GDIT, Lockheed Martin, NCI, PAE, Barbaricum, AFSOC, USAID, Louis Berger, US Air Force, US Department of State, IBM i2 Smarter Planet, TRACER Inc., NSHQ, US Dept. of State, Motorola Solutions Inc, The Patuxent Partnership, PricewaterhouseCoopers, St. Michael’s Inc, SDL Government, IAT, Textron Systems, VX Technologies, General Atomics Aeronautical, ANSER OASD (SO/LIC), USMC, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Harris, GDIT, CALIBRE, Ultracell, Inc, BCF Solutions, IBM, IT Consulting Partners, Technical Innovation, Northrop Grumman, PM CISS, CTTSO/SCOS, CSG Solutions, NASIC, ProteQ, & more.


SOWF logo
DSI is honored to Support the families of US Special Operators through donations to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.



Advisory Board
DSI strives to provide the most up to date, mission relevant, topics and discussion points for our meetings. In order to assure that we are providing the best subject content possible, our Advisory Board Members have volunteered to share their respective insight and expertise with us. We are truly grateful to have their support and guidance as we strive to continually create truly effective meetings and events for all. Learn more about our Advisory Board Members.