An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Allies, Partners, SOF community forge partnerships at SAWS

  • Published
  • By Maj. Jessica Gross
  • Air Force Special Operations Command Public Affairs

Within today’s complex and uncertain operational environments, Air Force Special Operations Command continues to seek forums to leverage relationships with allies, partners and special operations forces counterparts to prepare for the future.

To further these partnerships and relationships in a collaborative setting, AFSOC co-sponsored the Special Air Warfare Symposium with the Global SOF Foundation at the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Convention Center Feb. 27 – 29, 2024.

“Since its inception, the symposium has served as a vital platform for sharing ideas discussing emerging threats and exploring innovative strategies in the realm of air and space warfare,” said Maj. Gen. Rebecca Sonkiss, deputy commander, Air Force Special Operations Command. “This symposium is an opportunity for us to expand our knowledge and build those relationships to ensure we are prepared to meet any challenge head on.”

In line with the joint nature of SOF, the symposium had attendees from 25 countries and several SOF components. The symposium itself hosted more than 1,200 attendees, bringing all these entities together.

“If we can be in sync with our allies and partners, we are joining forces across all domains to include cyber and the info[rmation] domain,” said Philippine Maj. Gen. Araus Robert F. Musico, commander, Air Combat Command of the Philippine Air Force. “Nobody else can do that, and that is a force to be reckoned with.”

In its third year, SAWS holds a unique focus on the special air warfare community specifically and creates a space for Air Commandos to collaborate with partners in innovation and technology, throughout the enterprise, to adapt to an evolving threat environment.

“Building and maintaining those strong relationships with our allies, partners, and other stakeholders is truly essential to success,” said Sonkiss. “It’s about trust, cooperation and mutual respect ... it’s about leveraging each other's strengths and capabilities to achieve a common purpose.”

SAWS is one of AFSOC’s ongoing efforts to facilitate an environment for Air Commandos to strengthen relationships with many different groups all with the same mindset to ensure pathfinding for the future fight.

“We are America’s Air Commandos -- this is more than just a statement of fact, it’s a declaration of our identity and purpose,” said Sonkiss. “SAWS is a reaffirmation of our [AFSOC] commitment to living up to this title, ensuring we have the knowledge and expertise to protect our nation.”