TAMPA, Fla., May 23, 2019 — It’s a year of new records for the 2019 Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC) with attendance of nearly 13,000 for a non-demonstration year and the most-ever number of exhibitors at 440, said officials of the four-day, Tampa, Florida-based event.

There were 12,888 attendees from 39 countries registered for SOFIC, the annual conference of businesses and government that work with Special Operations Forces. U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida and the National Defense Industrial Association of Arlington, Virginia, cohosted the event.

The attendee record is noteworthy as this year did not include the Capabilities Exercise, which usually features special operators from about 75 countries demonstrating the military might that goes into their every-day work.

“2019 SOFIC was a great year for setting the bar for innovation, small business and connecting USSOCOM industry and the entire SOF community,” said Christine Klein, senior vice president of meetings and business partnerships for the National Defense Industrial Association.

The record 440 exhibitors brought to the show a worldwide range of offerings, from the largest of defense contractors and aerospace companies to upstarts and small businesses to nonprofit groups that support these unique warfighters. Exhibitors, high-level USSOCOM speakers and many events geared specifically for networking and presentation to government buyers gave attendees the best atmosphere to meet and seek to do business with each other and new partners.

“SOFIC 2019 was an important opportunity for U.K. companies to promote their capabilities,” said Adam Thomas, spokesman for the United Kingdom’s Department for International Trade’s Defence and Security Organisation. “It was also an excellent opportunity for business-to-business engagement and to understand the future requirements of USSOCOM.”

The 2019 SOFIC was May 20-23 at the Tampa Convention Center. The next SOFIC features the return of the Capabilities Exercise and is set for May 11-14, 2020, in Tampa.

Nearly 13,000 people from 39 countries registered for the event during a non-demonstration year and 440 exhibitors — the most ever — turned out at the Tampa Convention Center for the four-day event.