Meet key members of the Special Operations Forces at GSOF Symposium 2022

In October, GSOF Symposium Europe will open its doors to the European Special Operations Forces (SOF) community in Budapest, Hungary, for three days of discussion and collaboration on issues affecting SOF operations worldwide.

Organised by the Global SOF Foundation in collaboration with Clarion Defence and Security, the 6th GSOF Symposium Europe will bring together military, government, commercial and educational stakeholders to network, explore topical developments and do business in order to advance SOF capabilities and partnerships and confront global and networked threats, with a focus on European requirements and operations.

The Symposium

Based around a three-day agenda, the 2022 symposium will include keynote addresses, plenary sessions, informal round-tables and panel discussions on a range of topics including ‘the importance of Special Operations-specific funding’, ‘the Value of Special Operations in integrated deterrence’, ‘growing SOF aviation’, ‘building the bridge between SOF, academia and industry, and the ‘impact of drones in modern warfare’.

The day one Government Seminar will begin with welcome remarks from Mr Stu Bradin, President and CEO of the Global SOF Foundation, and opening remarks from Lieutenant General Romulusz Ruszin-Szendi, Commander of the Hungarian Defence Forces, who will set the scene from the host nation perspective. The day will continue with insights on Hungarian funding and acquisition processes from Dr. Gáspár Maróth, Government Commissioner, Hungary; and a keynote speech from Mr. Jim Smith, Acquisition Executive at Special Operations Forces Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, U.S. Special Operations Command. Three panel sessions will complete the day, looking at ‘the Impact of SOF Funding on Operational Commanders’, ‘A Perspective on Joint Acquisition for Composite-SOCC’, and ‘NATO SOF Funding: NSPA vs. Gov-to-Gov and the Need for a European Defense Funds for Research and Development; and a look at how military organisations can compete with the private sector when seeking new talent.

Day two will kick off the full symposium agenda, with the opening keynote to be delivered by the Hungarian Minister of Defence, Mr. Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky, who will share his vision for the Special Operations Forces of Hungary and multinational cooperation in the region. SOF leaders from across Europe will then come together in a panel session to discuss ideas and opportunities for a collaborative Regional SOF Headquarters that would serve multiple regions and mission sets.

The afternoon will see senior leaders including Lieutenant General Edwin “John” Deerdrick, Jr., United States Military Representative, NATO, Military Committee, consider the shifting role of NATO SOF forces in the future, and how NATO should posture itself for irregular warfare.

The third and final day of the symposium will begin with the SOF Commanders Roundtable (invitation only), followed by a keynote speech from Lieutenant General Antonio “Tony” Fletcher, Commander, NATO Special Operations Headquarters. Later sessions will include the return of the SOF Slam, focusing on the role of drones in modern warfare; and a panel on the growing role of aviation in SOF operations. The final keynote speech will be delivered by Lieutenant General Romulusz Ruszin-Szendi, Commander, Hungarian Defence Forces.

Displaying innovation

Delegates from nearly thirty countries are set to attend the symposium this year, with exhibitors from around the globe presenting their latest capabilities on the show floor that align with the requirements and acquisition interests of Hungary’s Special Operations Forces – from weapons systems to airborne filtration and CBRNE defence capabilities; battlefield support and personal protection equipment; and the latest developments in soldier protection and survival, medical/casualty care, and EOD, Counter-IED and bomb disposal.

The exhibition floor will also include – for the first time – the Disruptive Technology (DisTec) theatre, where speakers will explore cutting-edge solutions and technological breakthroughs with the potential to reshape the future of SOF worldwide.

With more than 40 percent of the audience comprised of active, serving military personnel, high-profile SOF commanders, and defence ministers, this year’s GSOF Symposium Europe offers an unparalleled opportunity for SOF stakeholders to network and make meaningful business connections. Registration is now open!

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