On February 23, 2016, Colombian Ambassador to the United States Juan Carlos Pinzón kicked off the second Global SOF Symposium, a forum focused on the international fight against terrorism and the role of Special Operations Forces (SOF). The theme of this year’s symposium was “Achieving SOF Interoperability” and the Ambassador’s address focused on the evolution and transformation of the Special Forces of Colombia when he served as Minister of Defense.
Ambassador Pinzón stated, “It is very important for Colombia to show the world that the transformation of our military forces and police are today being studied worldwide as an example of how to increase military capabilities. The men and women of our Armed Forces are being recognized for all the sacrifices they have made and work they have done in Colombia’s search for peace. They are the soldiers and police who now have the world’s oldest guerrilla group sitting at a negotiating table to bring an end to a more than 50-year conflict”.
The symposium, was held February 23rd through February 25 in Tampa Bay, FL, and included leaders and international speakers who are a part of the global special operations community. The purpose of the Global SOF Foundation is to take a look into the future, collecting the expertise and experiences of governments, military, industry, academia and media.
In addition to the Ambassador, participants include U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict Michael Lumpkin; Deputy Minister of Defense for Lithuania Marijus Velička; Peter Bergen, CNN National Security Analyst; and Catherine Herridge, FOX News Intelligence and Counter-terrorism Correspondent; among others.
Represented at the symposium were 26 countries, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Yemen and Nigeria, as well as NATO allies Lithuania, the United Kingdom and France.