Jim Bower squeezes the trigger of an AK-47, sending 7.62 mm rounds from the world’s most popular rifle flying at a target 10 meters away.
“This is a very smooth weapon,” says Bower, vice president of business development for Riverside Research, an Arlington, Va., firm that provides intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support to the Air Force.
A retired Air Force major, Bower is attending Shooting with SOF, a networking event put on by retired Green Beret master sergeant Scott Neil. The event, held at Shooters World in Tampa, is the kickoff to the GEOINT2013* Symposium, billed as the “largest intelligence event in the U.S.”
Bower is typical of many of those attending Shooting with SOF. Some have never been around weapons before, others, like him, have hunted, but never fired an AK.
“It was beautiful,” he says after firing. “Of all the weapons I fired, I kept the AK target as a souvenir.”
For Bower, this is his 10th GEOINT symposium.
The symposium, he says, is “a great way to meet up with people in the government and other companies,” says Bower.
Shooting with SOF “adds an extra dimension to the conference,” he says.
The symposium runs from Monday through Thursday at the Tampa Convention Center and is expected to bring in about $3 million in direct revenue to the region and help the long-term growth of the local defense industry as well.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Director Letitia A. Long, U.S. Special Operations Command commander Adm. William McRaven and U.S. Special Operations Command commander Gen. Lloyd Austin III are among the keynote speakers.