As a representative of Segue, I attended AFCEA West 2010 in San Diego, CA this past week and am very happy that I did. AFCEA, the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, is a non-profit membership association serving the military, government, industry, and academia as an ethical forum for advancing professional knowledge and relationships in the fields of communications, IT, intelligence, and global security.
I’ve always wanted to attend AFCEA West (no not because it is in beautiful San Diego –well that might be part of it) because it is one of the few AFCEA events where you get an opportunity to interface with government and industry in a panel session format. I took advantage of this opportunity by participating in a Web 2.0 session with other industry members and government representatives. A majority of the discussions involved policy and existing/potential usage of professional and social networking tools within the government. I was pleasantly surprised with the group’s understanding of the importance of these tools as information sharing and collaboration aids. It appears that the government is making real strides in making tools similar to Facebook and Twitter available to personnel in secure environments. In particular, Milbook, essentially a secure version of Facebook running behind military firewalls, is probably one of the most well-known Web 2.0 tools deployed in recent months. To take a look at how government is changing its tactics a bit, check out one of their promotional videos here.
The presentation that I enjoyed the most was given by ADM James G. Stavridis, USN who is the NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Europe Commander for U.S. European Command. He gave a very informative brief on existing Cyber threats and the U.S. capability to counter those threats. It was a chilling reminder that we have a lot of work to do in order to shore up our defenses but was also promising in the sense that there is a concerted effort by the government to focus on these weaknesses. This is particularly evident with the new Cyber commands that the services are standing up.
On a more social note, David Hart, the AFCEA Dayton Chapter President and one of Segue’s own, and I attended the “Midway Magic” dinner event aboard the USS Midway. The USS Midway is an Aircraft Carrier that was commissioned on September 10, 1945 and saw action in the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War and numerous other conflicts. Having been in service for 47 years it was the longest serving carrier of the twentieth century. The Carrier now serves as a museum and houses vintage naval aircraft, flight simulators, and multimedia exhibits. David and I had a great time networking with other industry members and checking out the cool toys.
AFCEA West 2010 was a fantastic event that I highly recommend to others in the Defense industry. I am already looking forward to AFCEA West 2011!
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