SOFWERX - SOCOM Opens Up to Private Sector

SOFWERX - SOCOM Opens Up to Private Sector image
January 26, 2016 | Source: Sandra I. Erwin, NDIA National Defense Magazine

U.S. special operations forces are exceptionally tight-lipped about their duty assignments. But they are becoming increasingly forthright about their interest in innovative technology.

Taking a page from the Silicon Valley business playbook, the U.S. Special Operations Command has opened up its own technology incubator in Ybor City, a historic Tampa, Florida, neighborhood not far from SOCOM headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base.

SofWerX is a 10,000 square-foot open floor building with the look and feel of a tech startup. The name is a melding of SOF and a stylized spelling of "Works." SOCOM decided it needed to do something in response to growing concerns that the military has been a technology laggard and needs to create new channels to communicate with the faster-moving private sector.

"We're flipping the engagement with industry," said James F. Geurts, acquisition executive for U.S. Special Operations Command. He oversees a staff of 600 researchers, procurement and contracting officers.