SOFEX 2014

Strengthening international relationships

05 May 2014

Since the idea for a Special Operations Forces conference and exhibition was first put forward by His Majesty King Abdullah II, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, in 1996, SOFEX has developed into the largest specialist event of its kind and this year celebrates its 10th staging in Jordan. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mashal Mohammad Al Zaben, explains some of the benefits to the Jordanian Armed Forces (JAF), which have been the main sponsor of the event from the beginning.

“We are anticipating the conference and exhibition to be a valuable opportunity to further develop the capabilities of JAF, to access the latest global military technology industry and to strengthen relationships and partnerships with the various armies in the world. SOFEX will also be a valuable opportunity to sign a number of contracts and agreements with the armed forces and many other internal and external bodies. It is also a showcase for the King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau (KADDB), which is part of the JAF, to exhibit and promote its growing range of defence equipment and systems.”

Al Zaben has no doubt that SOFEX has provided strong support to countering the growing terrorism in the world. “In the last few years, the world has witnessed growing violence, terrorism, and extremism, which varies widely and bizarrely in the means and implementations thereof. These issues have increased disturbingly in our region, which calls for a collective effort to confront this phenomenon. Based on this, the exhibition and the conference has gained increasing importance, being specialised in exhibiting equipment used by the security services and special operations, since they are the main forces that deal with counter-terrorism operations in a world where terrorism has become the major challenge to be faced.”

Al Zaben also emphasises the benefits to the JAF from the Eager Lion exercises, which are being held later this month in co-operation with the US and with the participation of military schools, training centres, army, navy and air force personnel from 24 friendly nations. It is expected that the number of participants will exceed 13,000 soldiers, as well as thousands of participants from security services and civilian, private and governmental bodies involved in crisis management. This exercise will also demonstrate the relation between military forces, agencies, and ministries and will help in the exchange of military expertise and improve operational operability among the participating countries.

“SOFEX and Eager Lion represent a qualitative change in the different operational, logistic and administrative roles of JAF,” Al Zaben says. “Most importantly, both events have an international dimension, which gives JAF the ability to address the armies of the world and create and enhance trust for JAF personnel and the Jordanian people.” He adds that the annual international Warrior Competition being held in parallel with SOFEX in the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center (KASOTC), the biggest such facility in the Middle East, provides one of the foremost international challenges between military teams and witnesses a distinguished military and international presence represented by the toughest military teams in the fields of endurance, marksmanship, and handling counter-terrorism operations.

(519 words)