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Marine Forces Special Operations Command


Marine Forces Special Operations Command

Camp Lejeune, NC

Marine Raiders talk SOF innovation at SOFIC 2019

By Gunnery Sgt. Lynn Kinney | Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command | October 4, 2019


Marine Raiders tapped into industry partners this week to help them prepare for future special operations missions around the world during the 2019 Special Operations Forces Industry Conference in Tampa, May 21 - 23, 2019.

More than 400 vendors participated in the annual gathering aimed at providing the SOF community the opportunity to interact with industry and to collaborate on the challenges, initiatives, and way-ahead in delivering the most cutting-edge capabilities into the hands of SOF operators.

The commander of Marine Forces Special Operations Command, Maj. Gen. Daniel D. Yoo, along with the other U.S. Special Operations Command service component commanders, participated in the opening day's Industry Role in Current Readiness and Future Capabilities of Special Operations Forces panel to address the topic of preserving and growing readiness to maximize each service's current competitive edge.

Yoo took the opportunity to highlight the key tenets outlined in the component's strategic vision document, MARSOF 2030, published in April 2018.

"It is about enabling the individual, the cognitive Raider," said Yoo.

He highlighted the first SOF truth - that humans are more important than hardware.

"When we talk about multi-domain warfare - and that is really the new way of American warfare and how we operate in that environment - we have to have hyper enabled operators, teams and formations, that are as comfortable in multi-domain warfare as we are in the physical. That's why it is so important for us when we talk about selecting the right individuals, with the propensity to be successful in the operating environment, no matter what they face. Predictive analysis for helping us to assess and select individuals into the formation."

The command’s second priority for future development is MARSOF as a connector. MARSOC seeks to leverage its command and control architecture to provide a foundation from which U.S. and coalition actors and capabilities can be brought to bear on problems whose solutions require the synergy of military and non-military instruments.

"We are going to be out and about in the local force posture providing access and placement to be able to leverage the capabilities of our international partners," said Yoo. "Therefore, we will be able to be that facilitator and enabler and shaping the environment,"
he said.

This concept is tightly coupled with the third MARSOF 2030 priority, combined arms for the connected arena. This line of effort will see Raiders thoughtfully combining intelligence, information and cyber operations to affect opponent decision-making, influence diverse audiences and counter false narratives. It will be critically important for Raiders to synchronize operations, activities and actions in the information environment with those in the physical, combining them as naturally as fire and maneuver are combined today.

"The fire and maneuvers that we all grew up with at this table, is the same thing that you will see in the virtual domain, when you are taking information, intelligence, cyber and other capabilities that are still in development and be able to leverage those in both kinetic and non-kinetic fights as you go forward," said Yoo.

"And then when we look at enterprise agility we like to be able to focus on a problem set and give Gen. Clarke as much flexibility with the organization that is innovative and adaptable and agile - for any problems that the nation may face as we move forward."

MARSOC's staff recognizes that future success is dependent on their ability to innovate quickly, adopt technologies and apply the solutions on the battlefield, while reducing the physical, cognitive and technical burdens on SOF personnel.

"SOFIC is an invaluable forum that brings together our warfighters, capability developers and industry partners to engage in those conversations and scouting efforts that will ultimately hasten innovation," said MARSOC’s assistant chief of staff for requirements development. "We must be able to outpace our near peer adversaries as electronic sophistication is growing."

Outside of the panel, command representatives set out to find specific technologies of interest that will advance Raiders’ ability to sense, shoot, communicate, protect and sustain the fight in the years ahead. These technologies and systems include machine learning, unmanned and ground robotic systems augmented by artificial intelligence, autonomous target development systems, precision strike technology, high bandwidth-low detection communication networks and full spectrum signature management technologies.

MARSOC’s team leader for science and technology explained that increasingly complex battlefields will likely drive requirements for great weapons and communications systems ranges in order to better protect operators and magnify their effects on the battlefield.

"We seek to develop technology that complements our current targeting efforts from stand-off distances," he said. “This will consist of systems that are employable across our formations, down to the individual operator."

MARSOF 2030 is publicly available at https://www.marsoc.marines.mil/Portals/31/MARSOF%202030.pdf?ver=2018-06-26-152847-433