The Team Orlando cyber team made another visit to the Special Operations Forces new innovation laboratory located in Ybor City, Tampa. In one of the oldest buildings in Ybor City a flurry of activity is taking place to ensure that the Special Operation Forces maintain their decisive edge.

Cyber team visit SOFWERX

Pictured from left to right are Neal Finkelstein, Anne Tall (Mitre), Kenneth Zahn (SPAWAR), Cameron Hunt (Doolittle Institute), Art Van Horn (PEO STRI), Elaine Raybourn (Sandia National Lab), and Dan Torgler (JTIEC)

This is the home of SOFWERX. SOFWERX was created under a Partnership Intermediary Agreement between Doolittle Institute and the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). SOFWERX has an innovative strategy and business model to speed the connection of cutting-edge research with the minds of returning Special Operations Forces in order to create a high rate of return on technology insertion through the promotion of divergent thought and neutral facilitation.

JTIEC Deputy Director, Dan Torgler, led a group from Team Orlando to visit SOFWERX to solidify the partnership between Team Orlando cyber projects with SOFWERX future initiatives in cyber. Torgler said, “SOFWERX is excited about the opportunity to bring together the best and brightest minds from Team Orlando and SOFWERX to solve challenging cyber problems.”

Dr. Neal Finkelstein, chief engineer for the Army Research Lab, was in attendance and said, “We are seeing representatives from the highest levels, including the former Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, push on the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx) in Boston, Silicon Valley and Texas. It’s also evident with the Marine Corp and their newly established Gruntworks program, and even here with Team Orlando and the development of a future Joint Innovations Laboratory.”

Finkelstein said he thinks this all points to the fact that not all research needs a program objective memorandum submission or to last three to seven years.

“It’s a switch in culture and belief that we all need to speed experimentation, exploration and assessment sometimes into days and weeks, and not months and years,” he said. “Not all projects fit into this category, but having a type of low budget, low overhead facility like SOFWERX where people are working on game-changing ideas instead of incremental improvement may become a bigger part of our future.”

He said that the success of SOFWERX certainly will rely on partnerships with others like Team Orlando.

“It’s a new mindset. When 99% of the people think that your research is nuts or terribly wrong, you just might be on to something big, and about to make history.”