USSOCOM Innovation Foundry (IF16) Event

Collaboration Event (CE)

20-22 August 2024

Host Name: Gabby Robles

Location: TBD

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Submit NLT 05 July 11:59 PM ET

Purpose
SOFWERX, in collaboration with USSOCOM’s Directorate of Science and Technology (S&T), will host the sixteenth Innovation Foundry Event (IF16), in either Lexington KY, or at SOFWERX in Tampa, FL, (final determination will be made by the end of June), 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.

The theme of IF16, 'Contested Logistics in Future SOF Operations' will explore the challenges of resourcing parts, components, and supplies at the point of need for the untethered SOF operator. 

In this effort, S&T is working with the Program Executive Office for Special Operations Forces Support Activity (PEO-SOFSA) and the Expeditionary Support Program Office.

S&T 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. The 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 IF16 event will include preliminary capability concepts targeting the defined problem areas which may impact SOF forces and operations in the 2030 timeframe. These preliminary capability concepts will be developed further in a follow-on RCA 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 IF16:

  • Advanced energy systems
  • Advanced materials
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Autonomous systems
  • Electrical engineering
  • Hybrid manufacturing
  • Industrial engineering
  • Infrastructure
  • Inventory management
  • Large-scale, multi-material, and smart 3D printing
  • Logistics
  • Machine learning 
  • Machine operations
  • Manufacturing
  • Material science and engineering 
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Modeling and simulation
  • Precision manufacturing
  • Production engineering
  • Prototyping
  • Robotics
  • SOF operations
  • Supply chain management
  • Sustainment
  • Textiles
  • Welding

During IF16, 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
The future of warfare demands innovation in supply and sustainment capability to keep pace with large-scale, multidomain combat against peer adversaries. The intensity of future conflicts may lead to rapid depletion of stockpiles and resources, and deployments to remote locations far from established supply hubs will necessitate unconventional solutions for resupply, local procurement, and point-of-need production. This presents new challenges and opportunities for SOF in addressing strategic-to-tactical distribution and supply gaps for the untethered operator. Predictive logistics, real-time needs assessment, advanced manufacturing, energy independence, maneuverability, standardization, safety, and quality assurance will all require novel approaches. The confluence of domains and environments – and the speed and precision demanded of SOF operations – further amplify these challenges.

To tackle these problems SOF and SOF Supporting Activities will need to further study:
•    A vision for the future challenges posed by contested logistics.
•    Understand and mitigate the risks and vulnerabilities of contested logistics.
•    Plans and policies to enable operational advantage and exploit dual-use capabilities in a contested logistics environment.
•    Capabilities to understand and characterize adversarial actions in contested logistics.
•    New concepts of operation to operate in a range of heavily constrained contested logistics scenarios.
•    Recruit and train for the skillsets required to operate in future contested logistics environments.

What you will do at IF16:
•    Create a vision for what might be the characteristics of the 2030 operational environment from a contested logistics perspective.
•    Forecast what might be the predominant technology challenges within this future operational environment.
•    Conceptualize how novel capabilities might be applied towards SOF contested logistics challenges.

To describe what might be, participants will:
•    Not limit themselves to mere extensions of today’s environment, technologies, and processes.
•    Describe innovative concepts for the future operational environment in a science-fiction-like manner, developing new concepts that might exploit and defeat adversarial intent.
•    Identify the investments SOF needs to make now in order to succeed in this challenging future operational environment.

Event Timeline
Phase 1 – 07 June 2024 to 05 July 2024 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 IF16 Event by submitting a CV *(Curriculum Vitae) below NLT 05 July.

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

Phase 2 – 08 July 2024 to 16 July 2024 SME Review: The S&T Team will review SME submissions and notify SOFWERX of invited participants. SOFWERX will notify participants of their attendance status o/a 18 July. 

Phase 3 – 20 August 2024 to 22 August 2024 Innovation Foundry 16 Event: During the event, selected participants will collaborate and ideate with fellow SMEs, the S&T Team, and 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.

Phase 4 – Path Forward:
After completion of the Innovation Foundry Event, USSOCOM S&T may negotiate awards which fall under any combination of the following: 

NOTE: Awardees may need to be compliant with NIST SP 800-171, Protecting Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) in Non-Federal Systems and Organizations 

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

  1. Request to Attend as a SME:Click Here to Request to Attend(NLT 05 July)
     

Questions?

For event-related questions, please contact Gabby Robles


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