USSOCOM Innovation Foundry (IF12) Event

30 January-02 February 2023

Submit NLT 07 December 11:59 PM ET

 

Purpose
SOFWERX, in collaboration with USSOCOM’s Directorate of Science and Technology (S&T) Futures, Norwegian Special Operations Command (NORSOCOM), and the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI), will host the twelfth Innovation Foundry (IF12) Event in Oslo, Norway, as the first international IF, which seeks to bring together U.S. and International Special Operations Forces (SOF), Industry, Academia, Government, and futurists in an exploration, design thinking, facilitated event to assist USSOCOM in decomposing future scenarios and missions.

The Arctic environment presents significant challenges for military operations – harsh temperatures, a predominantly sea and ice environment, poor terrestrial data and communications infrastructure due to a lack of large population centers, and complex ongoing climate, environmental, political, economic, and cultural developments. The theme of IF12 is “Joint and Partner Communications in a Contested and Austere Environment”. The goal of the event is to explore the challenges of communications in a future challenged operating environment in the Arctic. Participants will develop concepts and approaches for the framework, technologies, infrastructure, and capabilities required to enable effective communications between SOF, joint forces, and partners, and to conduct operations in the future environment. Challenges include limited beyond-line-of-sight coverage, ionospheric and atmospheric disturbances to radio communications, Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) environments, sensor communication challenges, extreme temperatures, high latitudes, the impact of climate change, economic and environmental considerations, diverse stakeholders and interests, and potentially challenged territories.

In this effort, S&T Futures is working with the Norwegian Special Operations Command (NORSOCOM), the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI), other international S&T liaisons, USSOCOM staff, Joint Staff Intelligence (J2), and the Center for Joint Futures (J59).

The IF12 event seeks to cultivate future technology-based capabilities utilizing design thinking to explore concepts from future technology areas and how they may impact USSOCOM mission sets for future Special Operations Forces operators in the Future Operating Environment. Deliverables for the IF12 event will include solution concepts, capabilities, technologies, and approaches, around SOF forces and operations in the 2035-2040 timeframe, in which Joint and Partner communications are required in a contested and austere environment.

Why You Should Participate
The event will be a compelling opportunity for leading minds in Industry, Academia, Labs, and Government, as well as Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in Radio Frequency (RF) technologies, satellite communications technologies, wide area and mesh networking, autonomous systems, robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, material science, structures design, hydrophobic and signature reducing coatings, remote sensors, chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear defense, medical treatment and evacuation, device interoperability, technology standards, geophysical positioning and navigation, partnered operations, and SOF Operations to ideate, collaborate, and develop concepts for the future needs of SOF. USSOCOM has also used Innovation Foundries to build key relationships with local and regional entrepreneurs and technology developers.

Problem Statement
How do we effectively communicate and operate in a future Arctic environment where civilian, military, and economic activity will be greatly increased, where environmental, communications, navigational, and cultural challenges are significant, and where policy and international relations issues will continue to be sensitive? How do we access, communicate, and operate in a challenged or A2/AD environment facing near-peer adversaries? In such an environment, what technologies, approaches, and solutions will allow SOF to effectively fulfill their mission? How might these technologies be deployed in a future challenged / constrained environment in the Arctic?

As General Terrence O’Shaughnessy, former Commander, USNORTHCOM, said in January 2019, “Our adversaries are rapidly acquiring the capability and capacity to hold our citizens, our way of life and our national interests at risk. Along with our partners and allies, we must adapt to the evolving strategic landscape and associated challenges to ensure we are ready to operate in and through the Arctic in all scenarios, across all domains, and against any adversary. Our homelands are not a sanctuary, and the Arctic is the front line in our defense.”

Participants at the Oslo, Norway, IF12 event will develop concepts for future SOF missions, addressing communications, networking, and navigation, as well as related questions including equipment operations, logistics, ad hoc approaches, and multinational operations in a rapidly changing Arctic environment.

“The scenarios were sophisticated and intentionally difficult in order to drive new and creative approaches to the problem sets.” — RDML Rodriguez (NSWC Deputy), IF3

Event Timeline
Phase 1 – 21 November 2022 to 07 December 2022 Submissions Open: Radio Frequency (RF) technologies, satellite communications technologies, wide area and mesh networking, autonomous systems, robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, material science, structures design, hydrophobic and signature reducing coatings, remote sensors, chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear defense, medical treatment and evacuation, device interoperability, technology standards, geophysical positioning and navigation, partnered operations, and SOF Operations to ideate, collaborate, and develop concepts for the future needs of SOF SMEs, futurists and visionaries from Industry, Academia, and National Labs are encouraged to participate in the IF12 Event by submitting a CV (Curriculum Vitae) below NLT 07  December.

Phase 2 – 07 December 2022 to 14 December 2022 SME Review: The S&T Directorate Future’s Team will review SME submissions and notify SOFWERX of invited participants. SOFWERX will notify participants of their attendance status o/a 14 December. 

Phase 3 – 30 January 2023 to 02 February 2023 Innovation Foundry 12 Event: During the event, selected participants will collaborate and ideate with fellow SMEs, the S&T Directorate Future’s Team, and U.S. and International SOF Operators on the concept areas above. Selectees should plan for workdays from 0800-1700 ET.

This event will be held in person at a location to be determined in Oslo, Norway.

Phase 4 – Path Forward: Successfully negotiated awards may fall under any combination of these categories:

  • Business to business research and development agreement as a sub-award through the SOFWERX Partnership Intermediary Agreement (PIA) (15 U.S. Code Section 3715)
  • OTA for research or prototype projects (10 U.S. Code Sections 4021, 4022)
    • An award under 10 U. S. Code, Section 4022 may result in the further award of a follow-on production agreement without additional competition based on successful prototype completion. The Government may make this follow-on production award even if all successful prototype criteria are not fully met during the prototype project.
  • Procurement for experimental purposes (10 U.S. Code Section 4023)
  • Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (15 U.S. Code Section 3710a)
  • Prizes for advanced technology achievements (10 U. S. Code Section 4025) and/or prize competitions (15 U.S. Code 3719)
  • FAR-based procurement contract 
  • Awardees may need to be compliant with NIST SP 800-171, Protecting Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) in Non-Federal Systems and Organizations

How You Can Participate 
Industry, Academia, Government and National Labs Participants

Questions?
For event-related questions, please contact Gabby Robles, gabrielle.robles@sofwerx.org

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