USSOCOM Innovation Foundry (IF13) Event

11-13 July 2023

Submissions Closed 19 May 11:59 PM ET


SOFWERX, in collaboration with USSOCOM’s Directorate of Science and Technology (S&T) Futures, will host the thirteenth Innovation Foundry (IF13) Event in Tampa, FL, which intends to bring together Special Operations Forces (SOF), industry, academia, national labs, government, and futurists in an exploration, design thinking, facilitated event to assist USSOCOM in decomposing future scenarios and missions.

With the rapidly changing technology, communications, and media landscape around the globe, the information environment in 2040 will be very different from what it is today. The theme of IF13 is information operations, specifically actions to produce desired behavioral responses. The event seeks to explore the challenges of information advantage and informational power in the future, as it pertains to SOF operations and missions, as well as joint forces and partners. Challenges include developing a vision for SOF operations in a vastly different technology environment, with new media and communications paradigms; understanding their impact on the future information environment as well as SOF operations; and developing concepts for SOF operations in the future information environment, as it relates to intelligence, data, and operations.

In this effort, S&T Futures is working with Next-Generation Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (NGISR), Next-Generation Effects (NGE), and Networks and Data Management (NDM) Capability Function Areas, in conjunction with echelons of intelligence and operational staff.

S&T Futures has developed and refined a unique process, the Innovation Cycle, to engage technology pioneers and leaders, and to discover and develop high risk, innovative, and disruptive technologies for future on-boarding. This Innovation Foundry is the first event in the Innovation Cycle and is the idea generation phase. It will be followed by a Rapid Capability Assessment (RCA) to develop capabilities, and Integrated Technology Sprints (ITS) to demonstrate proofs of concept.

Deliverables for the IF13 event will include preliminary capability concepts targeting the defined problem areas which may impact SOF forces and operations in the 2040 timeframe, in the area of information operations. These preliminary capability concepts will be developed further in a follow-on Rapid Capability Assessment event.

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) to collaborate and ideate with other experts.

If you are an expert in any of the following areas of interest or in related fields, please consider participating in IF13.

  • Advertising and marketing
  • Advertising technology
  • Anthropology
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Augmented, virtual, mixed, and extended reality technologies
  • Civil-military operations
  • Demographic studies
  • Human factors
  • Influence operations
  • Information operations
  • Key leader engagement
  • Large language models
  • Machine learning
  • Media and communications
  • Medical and clinical aspects of information operations
  • Military information support operations (MISO)
  • Political science
  • Psychology
  • Radio and satellite communications technologies
  • Social engineering
  • Social identity theory
  • Social influence
  • Social media
  • Social media marketing and influencers
  • Sociology
  • SOF operations
  • Wide area and mesh networking

During IF13, selected participants will ideate, collaborate, and develop concepts for the future needs of SOF. USSOCOM has also used Innovation Foundries to build key relationships with entrepreneurs and technology developers.

Problem Statement
How will SOF carry out actions in the future information environment to produce desired behavioral responses?

The information environment of today is a complex web of state and non-state actors and private individuals; friendly, neutral, and hostile audiences; information networks; information systems; and information itself in a myriad of formats. 

The information environment of 2040 will be even more complex – and vastly different, due to new technologies, new data and information manipulation techniques, evolving social norms, and advanced information networks and systems.

SOF must develop new concepts of operation to effectively operate in the future information environment of 2040. 

SOF must rapidly identify human, machine, and network nodes of influence, and take appropriate countermeasures with partners and allies against malign actors operating at machine speed. 

What you will do at IF13:

  • Describe what might be the characteristics of the information environment of 2040 in dense urban areas
  • Describe what might be the predominant technologies within the future information environment
  • Describe how technologies might be applied while operating in the information environment to influence behavior

To describe what might be, participants will:

  • Not limit themselves to mere extensions of today’s environment, technologies, and processes
  • Describe innovative concepts for operations in the future information environment in a science-fiction-like manner
  • Identify the investments SOF needs to make now in order to succeed in the future information environment

Event Timeline
Completed Phase 1 – 21 April 2023 to 19 May 2023 Submissions Open: Futurists and visionaries from industry, academia, government and national labs who are experts in the areas of interest listed above and those who are specialized in SOF Operations are encouraged to participate in the IF13 Event by submitting a CV *(Curriculum Vitae) below NLT 19 May.

*Please note: each individual must submit their own CV for possible SME selection for the event

Phase 2 – 22 May 2023 to 02 June 2023 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 05 June. 

Phase 3 – 11 July 2023 to 13 July 2023 Innovation Foundry 13 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 SOFWERX in Tampa, FL.

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

For event-related questions, please contact Gabby Robles,