Military and Strategic Journal
Issued by the Directorate of Morale Guidance at the General Command of the Armed Forces
United Arab Emirates
Founded in August 1971

2016-05-01

SOFEX SUCCESS

Showcase in affairs of special operations forces and national security

The Special Operations Forces Exhibition & Conference (SOFEX) takes place biennially in Amman in the Jordan and has been a major success since its inception 20 years ago. This niche event is held under the Royal Patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah II, the Chairmanship of HRH Prince Feisal Bin Al Hussein and with the full support of the Jordan Armed Forces (JAF). Prince Feisel gives us his thoughts on the highly regarded event.
How do you assess the progress of SOFEX as now it has  completed two decades?
The Special Operations Forces Exhibition and Conference (SOFEX) which is considered the largest and most important international defense exhibition in the world, and the only one specializing in the field of special operations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, is of great importance for nations. It is a meeting place for all stakeholders and decision-makers working on establishing and strengthening security.
 
The exhibition was founded in 1996 by His Majesty King Abdullah II, the Supreme Commander of the Jordan Armed Forces, and has continued to date. The continuation of the exhibition, which is held biennially, is in itself a success story and reflects the importance and urgent need for it all over the world.
 
Two decades after its inception SOFEX marks a new stage as it constitutes a meeting point for global defense sectors and a platform for the launch of strategic partnerships aimed at cooperation and exchange of experiences and expertise between countries.
 
SOFEX has provided a platform for Jordanian industries to establish joint ventures and strengthen their capacity so as to be a base for defense and manufacturing industries, especially King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau (KADDB) and its subsidiaries.
 
I say proudly that SOFEX, two decades after its launch, has taken its recognized place on the map of international exhibitions. It has already become a hallmark among defense industry exhibitions in the world and a forum for dialogue and communication between companies, providing many windows for joint cooperation.
 
At every edition, SOFEX attracts more participants to showcase their latest expertise in the field of defense and national security, and to have access to the latest defense and security technology which is the focus of many regional and international countries.
 
You call it The Special Operations Forces Exhibition and Conference (SOFEX). To what extent does it focus on Special Forces?
This international event ranks first globally in the field of defense industries, especially the equipment of special operations, counter-terrorism and national security in the Middle East and North Africa.
 
Since SOFEX is the world’s largest international defense exhibition in the world, and the only one specializing in the area of special operations and ​​national security, it helps significantly to provide countries adequate means to protect themselves against the growing threats, especially at the level of non-traditional methods which His Majesty King Abdullah II described as the greatest threat to global peace and security.
 
The security challenges facing all countries in the world have made the need more urgent than ever for defense equipment and devices. Therefore, SOFEX allows the display of more versatile equipment and state-of-the-art technology in these areas. In the three-day exhibition, equipment and technologies specializing in the affairs of special operations forces and national security will be showcased in an unprecedented way. This equipment will be from countries that vary in their defense strategies.
 
The responsibility, role and missions of Special Forces in modern armies have expanded and become multiple at the three levels (land, air and sea), including training and providing them with sophisticated equipment to face threats and to be more efficient in the implementation of the tasks assigned to them.
 
Is focus made evenly on national security?
SOFEX is very important since it constitutes a meeting place for all stakeholders and decision-makers working on establishing and promoting national and global security all over the world. It brings small and medium-sized companies, as well as the largest international companies specialiing in defense industries together with leaders and decision-makers in governments and militaries from around the world.
 
Everyone is aware of the exhibition’s high importance at the regional and international levels as it responds to the basic needs of all countries. It is a forum for participants to showcase their latest expertise in the field of security and defense, and contributes to the cognitive and technological development of security forces and services through awareness of the latest products showcased by manufacturers over the three days of SOFEX. 
 
Many countries in the region face big challenges and dangers in this sensitive and critical stage of political, economic, social, security and military instability. As such, the security aspect has become a primary concern of states and their leaders to protect their countries from dangers. In this sense, domestic and border security is part of the tasks of Special Forces.
 
National security concept emanates from three dimensions, including local security that seeks to create and establish a secure and stable domestic environment; regional security; and global collective security. 
 
What is the main idea of ​​the conference and who are keynote speakers in it?
The conference, which is held under the title “Special Operations and the emerging hybrid threats Environment”, with participation from leaders, experts and specialists around the world to discuss all matters relating to global security issues, recent events in the region and the role of technology in them. SOFEX is the optimal opportunity for senior military and security officials, decision makers, and planners of strategies for national and global security, to meet.
 
The conference features the attendance of heads of state, defense ministers, chiefs of staff and senior officers of the special forces, ground and air forces in the region, along with a number of officials from all over the world, to work on building bridges of understanding and cooperation to consolidate world security and peace.
 
Commanders of special operations in this conference to discuss the latest existing challenges and provide new in-depth strategic perspectives about the latest modern technology applications and strategies with respect to the equipment of these forces in the light of modern warfare and the role and requirements of these forces in peacekeeping missions.
 
What is the focus of SOFEX - terrorism or counter-terrorism?
SOFEX specializes in the exhibits of security systems and Special Forces which often deal with terrorism and counter-terrorism which has become a major challenge to the countries of the world.
 
For the past few years of the 21st century, the world has been experiencing events and challenges that led to growing violence, terrorism and extremism, and increased alarmingly, especially in the region around us, which calls for concerted efforts to address this worrying phenomenon and gives increased importance to SOFEX.
 
SOFEX provides access to the latest technology and weapons of elite forces and security in one specific place and time is one of the largest contributions in this area.It brings together the largest and most important companies seeking to produce the best technologies that would limit the growth of terrorism. It also provides an opportunity for dialogue, consultation and exchange of ideas and opinions about the most effective ways to combat terrorism.
 
This all achieves the goals of Special Forces, which seek modernity, excellence and professionalism in their multiple responsibilities and roles, especially in the field of counter-terrorism and keeping international peace and security. 
 
 Do you expect the same turnout at this time, given the unstable situation in the region?
The number of companies participating in SOFEX 2014 amounted to 373, a record number in the editions of SOFEX. It is hoped that in SOFEX 2016 this number will be increased, in view of the special importance of the exhibition and conference, in light of the unstable situation and challenges in the region that require attention to the security aspect and the demand for advanced defensive weapons.
 
The current situation of the region may increase the demand for high-tech weapons, but the decline in the oil price constitutes an obstacle. How can they (demand increase and decline of oil prices) be reconciled?
The question of the linking government spending to the procurement defensive weapons in light of the falling oil prices are not always a direct equation. For the regional countries, this question is governed by the conditions and challenges facing them, mainly maintaining security and counter-terrorism.
 
According to figures published by the World Strategic Studies centers, the lower oil prices did not affect advanced arms procurement by countries in the region because of the threats they face from more than one direction.
 
Terrorist strikes on Europe can make these countries more focused on national security. Is participation of companies and European countries bigger this year?
European companies and countries have always been strongly present in all editions of SOFEX.We expect that their participation will at the same level in this edition given the importance of this exhibition globally.
 
Technologically advanced weapons require better level of training. Does SOFEX look forward to covering this aspect?
The existence of weapons of cutting-edge technology to support special operations forces is essential when speaking about SOFEX. The development of the capabilities of these forces in the areas of training, education and rehabilitation is moving in the same direction. For training is the chief cornerstone of human resources training in modern armies.
 
The continuous training of troops in military equipment has also become one of the key rules to keep up with cutting-edge technology. The rapid technological advances in military equipment needs training in, and use of, that technology,because the age of technology in military equipment precedes the age of the equipment.
 
The International Fighter Competition is held in conjunction with SOFEX and became part of its activities.It is held in the biggest center in the Middle East for training special operations forces, namely The King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center- KASOTC.
 
This competition is one of the largest international competitive events between the best known military teams that has an international military presence and focus on special operations and counter-terrorism teams and teams of special security functions.
 
Do you think that countries in the region need better training for their Special Forces, like the American or European training?
The well qualified and uniquely trained Jordanian Special Forces have earned a reputation for excellence worldwide.
As such, the ongoing events and challenges, and the growing acts of violence, terrorism and extremism, require that Special Forces should be highly prepared to confront these dangers.
 
What countries of the Middle East in general, and the Gulf in particular, will participate in SOFEX 2016?
A supporter of the SOFEX since its inception and involved in all the sessions, the United Arab Emirates will participate in SOFEX 2016. It looks forward in this edition to the participation by all the Gulf states.
 
 What are the new industries that will be presented at SOFEX?
The participating companies in SOFEX, which are the world’s largest companies in the defense industry, seek to showcase their latest products, innovations and technologies of hardware and equipment in the affairs of special operations forces and national security. SOFEX will provide many windows for joint cooperation between the participating countries in order to take advantage of the advanced technology and equipment to be displayed in the exhibition, as well as for joint investment in the defense industry.
 
Companies will showcase the latest defense products, as well as the equipment of land, air and naval Special Forces needed by all countries, including light vehicles, communicationand security systems, support equipment,Special Forces’exercises and weapons,vehicles for transporting individuals, border security and resistance to infiltration.

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