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WEST 2024: Naval Special Warfare a Force Multiplier for the Fleet, Joint Force

Rear Adm. Keith Davids, commander, Naval Special Warfare Command (NSWC), attended and participated in AFCEA-USNI WEST (WEST) 2024 conference, Feb. 13-15.

WEST, the premier naval conference and exposition on the West Coast, brings military and industry leaders together to discuss new technologies and capabilities. The theme of the 34th iteration of the event was, “Are Acquisition and Readiness on Pace to Meet Global Security Demands?”

Davids participated in a panel discussion alongside six leaders from sea service warfare communities to discuss acquisition and readiness and address the question, “What Changes are Community Leaders Making to Meet Global Security Demands?”
 
“Over the past two decades, the focus of Naval Special Warfare (NSW) has been primarily on counterterrorism,” said Davids. “Now, we are prioritizing integration with the Fleet and Joint Force. We can operate forward in contested areas that enhances warfighting lethality in unique ways. ”
 
Davids emphasized that conventional response methods have grown ineffective in addressing contemporary conflicts and diverse threats across the globe. To counter the instability and distinct challenges to U.S. warfare capabilities, Davids called on industry to support NSW’s value proposition.
 
“We're interested in leveraging our maritime access and placement to deliver asymmetric effects for the Fleet. Therefore, we need industry’s help to enhance our stealth, precision, scale, and decision advantage,” said Davids. “We are eager to collaborate with many of you on new ideas and concepts.”
 
Joining Davids on the panel was Rear Adm. Brad Andros, commander, Navy Expeditionary Command, Lt. Gen. Karsten Heckl, commanding general, Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Vice Adm. Brendan McLane, commander, Naval Surface Forces, Vice Adm. Daniel Cheever, commander, Naval Air Forces and Elizabeth Nashold, deputy commander, Naval Information Forces. Retired Vice Adm. Peter H. Daly, former CEO and Publisher, U.S. Naval Institute, moderated the discussion.

AFCEA, which stands for the Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association, and the U.S. Naval Institute (USNI), sponsor WEST each year. The conference is organized into a main program and three engagement theaters - Marine, General, and Information Warfare. 

Along with exhibits, keynote speakers and panel discussions, WEST also gives attendees a chance to hear from the Secretary of the Navy, the Chief of Naval Operations, the Commandants of the Marine Corps and Coast Guard, the Sea Service Chiefs, and various industry leaders.
 
WEST 2024 also featured a Department of the Navy (DON) Information Technology (IT) conference, an Innovation Showcase, and awards announcements recognizing individual and group winners in categories such as Emerging Leaders, a USNI essay contest, and women’s appreciation.

Naval Special Warfare is the nation's elite maritime special operations force, uniquely positioned to extend the Fleet's reach and gain and maintain access for the Joint Force in competition and conflict.