This year the editors of the Journal of Optical Communications and Networking (JOCN) launched a new initiative to create a special issue featuring the best optical communication systems and networks papers from the Optical Fiber Communication Conference/National Fiber Optic Engineers Conference (OFC/NFOEC). We are excited to introduce this inaugural special issue of invitation-only extended papers based on material presented at OFC/NFOEC 2012. The top contributed papers from six technical committees, including NFOEC “Optical Network Applications and Services,” “Network Technologies and Applications,” and “FTTx Technologies, Deployment and Applications” and OFC “Core Network,” “Access Network,” and “Optical Networking, Technologies, and Applications for Datacom and Computercom,” were invited to submit extended papers to the special issue. Nearly all the invited authors submitted papers and JOCN Associate Editors performed expedited review and processing of the papers. The JOCN OFC/NFOEC 2012 Special Issue includes 20 papers. Given the tremendous success of this inaugural special issue, JOCN expects to continue this series for upcoming OFC conferences.