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AFCEA Answers is a bi-weekly 25-minute radio program that provides a forum to promote government and industry dialogue on some of the most challenging science and technology issues in the defense, homeland security and intelligence sectors. The show features conversations with top federal government decision-makers and experts, and top industry leaders from companies serving these communities. The show is produced by AFCEA International in partnership with Federal News Radio, and its co-owned sister station, WTOP-FM, both in Washington, D.C. AFCEA Answers airs every other Friday at 2:05 pm Eastern on WFED 1500-AM in the Washington metro area.

We invite you to listen and join in the conversation through our blog.

About the Host, Max Cacas Sponsor Opportunities

Lieutenant General Robert S. Ferrell USA, Chief Information Officer for the United States Army/G-6, accepts the AFCEA Challenge Coin after an in-depth discussion of the challenges of keeping warfighters on the cutting edge of IT on AFCEA Answers, with Max Cacas, host.

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Debriefing the Army CIO

The U.S. Army, like all of the American military services, is dependent on an increasingly complex array of information technology to prosecute its mission. On this edition of AFCEA Answers, our guest is the officer responsible for the Army's IT resources, Lieutenant General Robert Ferrell USA, chief information officer/G-6. He explains how the modernization of the Army's LandWarNet ties in with building the Joint Information Environment, and will result in improved network performance for Army facilities worldwide. The general also offers a progress report on the presidentially-mandated program to reduce the number of Army data centers. He further expounds on the vital role that acquisition modernization plays in keeping the military's IT resources at the ready in a time of declining budgets and shifting threat priorities.

Click here to listen to Lt. Gen. Ferrell describe how network modernization, as part of the Joint Information Environment, will result in better network performance for Army installations worldwide.

Learn more! Read related content from AFCEA's Signal Magazine about the Joint Information Environment Mission Partner Symposium and Team Signal and LandWarNet 2020.


Previous Editions

George Duchak (left), director of the Information Directorate with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome, New York, discusses the facility’s research and development work with Max Cacas, host of AFCEA Answers.

Air Force C4I Innovation

In order to stay on the cutting edge of mission-focused innovation, the Air Force Research Lab’s Information Directorate in Rome, N.Y. conducts research on matters regarding command, control, communications, cyber and intelligence, better known as C4I . On this edition of AFCEA Answers, we’ll learn more about the activities of the AFRL Information Directorate from its director, George Duchak.  He’ll tell us how a newly-developed device that mimics the human brain – a neuromorphic computer – may someday help future Air Force officers make better and faster decisions. We’ll also learn how AFRL scientists are teaming with local students to determine how to commercialize the results of their research.  Tune in to this edition of AFCEA Answers to glean insights from Mr.  Duchak about how to improve the acquisition of information technology.

Hear a short clip of Mr. Duchak elaborating on the genesis and definition of Neuro-Morphic Computing.

Dig deeper! Read related content from AFCEA's Signal Magazine on our Cyber Symposium and Joint Information Environment Mission Partner Symposium.

Dr. Adam Cox, acting director, Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency, Dept. of Homeland Security shares his insights with Max Cacas, host of AFCEA Answers.

Innovation at Homeland

Just as the Pentagon depends on DARPA to keep the military on the cutting edge of science and technology, so too, does the Department of Homeland Security have an ARPA to keep DHS agencies out on the edge.  On this edition of AFCEA Answers, Dr. Adam Cox, acting director of the Homeland Security Advanced Projects Research Agency (HSARPA) discusses the similarities – and the differences – between his organization and DARPA.  He explains how “tech foraging” allows HSARPA to meet customer needs while saving taxpayers a buck or two. And he offers an unclassified look at some forward thinking technological solutions now being developed for transportation and border security.

Listen to a couple of excerpts from Dr. Cox's remarks here and here.


Max Cacas, host of AFCEA Answers, speaks with the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

The State of Intelligence

Two Part Series

Members of the U.S. Intelligence Community have found themselves to be the source of a good deal of scrutiny in recent years, not all of it welcome.  In this exclusive two-part interview, the Honorable James Clapper, Jr., Director of National Intelligence, discusses recent efforts to stem news leaks in the Intelligence Community; a new “roadmap” outlining the IC’s technology requirements in the future; and the effort to improve the speed and reliability of federal employee and contractor security clearances. Also we’ll preview the upcoming Intelligence and National Security Summit, scheduled for Sept. 18-19 in Washington, co-sponsored by INSA and AFCEA International.

Part 1 short excerpt from Director Clapper

Part 2 short excerpt from Director Clapper

Thanks to our sponsors!



Roberta Stempfley, DHS Deputy Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity Strategy and Emergency Communications, National Protections and Programs Directorate

Building on a Solid Cybersecurity Framework

With stories of cyberattacks making the news almost daily, it has become more important than ever to protect the critical infrastructure supporting private industry.  That’s the goal behind a cybersecurity framework mandated by President Obama, developed by the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST), and now being implemented by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  In this edition of AFCEA Answers, we’ll get insights into the progress on the framework from Bobbie Stempfley, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity Strategy and Emergency Communications with DHS’s National Protections and Programs Directorate. Stempfley will outline the importance of the voluntary nature of the framework, explain the need for highly trained cybersecurity professionals, and discuss how DHS works with other federal agencies and key public and private stakeholders.

Click here for a short excerpt from Bobbie Stempfley


Students are the ultimate benefactors of AFCEA’s STEM teacher scholarship and grant programs.

The ABCs of STEM

In recent years, science, technology, engineering and math education has become a top national priority.  In this special edition of AFCEA Answers, we’ll spotlight teachers from across the country who have benefitted from the AFCEA STEM Teachers for America's Future scholarship and teaching tools grant programs.  We’ll also hear from top experts who actively support AFCEA’s stem teacher programs.

Related event: AFCEA Cycle for STEM, July 13-19, 2014


Dr. Ron Ross, Senior Computer Scientist and Information Security Researcher, NIST, discusses federal cybersecurity framework with Max Cacas.


Baked-in Cyber Security Goodness

Experts say that one way to eliminate cyber security vulnerabilities is to build cyber defenses into the wide range of information technology devices that are rapidly becoming part of the internet of things. “Baked-in” cyber security is the goal of new draft guidelines recently proposed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. In this edition of “AFCEA Answers”, Dr. Ron Ross, senior computer scientist and information security researcher with NIST, joins us to discuss SP 800-160, proposals which would mandate the design of cyber protection into the hardware and software of the next generation of IT products and services. Also, Dr. Ross discusses how SP 800-160 is part of the continuing work on the federal government’s cybersecurity framework.   

Click here for a short excerpt from Dr. Ron Ross


(L-R): Max Cacas, producer/host, AFCEA Answers; Maj Gen Brett Williams, USAF (Ret.), former Director of Operations, J3, U.S. Cyber Command


Cyber Command, Day-to-Day

Maintaining cybersecurity has become a mission-critical 365/24/7 priority for the U.S. military. And no one knows that better than Maj Gen Brett Williams, USAF, the recently retired Director of Operations for U.S. Cyber Command. In this episode of AFCEA Answers, Maj Gen Williams discusses how Cyber Command works in a joint environment to protect the nation’s military information networks. He also discusses how the Joint Information Environment, now under construction, is a key element in enabling that protection, while also transitioning the military to a data-centric approach to information sharing.

Click here for a short excerpt from Maj Gen Brett Williams, USAF (Ret.)


(L-R): Max Cacas, producer/host, AFCEA Answers; David De Vries, Deputy Chief Information Officer, Information Enterprise, U.S. Department of Defense


The Joint Information Environment: A Progress Report

The Department of Defense is in the midst of a large-scale revamping of its information infrastructure. The Joint Information Environment (JIE) promises to facilitate information sharing among the military services, other government stakeholders, and coalition partners. And it will do so while consolidating resources at a time of budgetary challenges. In this edition of AFCEA Answers, DOD deputy CIO for Information Enterprise, David De Vries offers a progress report on the JIE, and hints at how they will inevitably measure success. 

Click here for a short excerpt from David De Vries


(L-R): VADM Ted Branch, USN, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Dominance (N2/N6) and Director, Naval Intelligence; Max Cacas, producer/host, AFCEA Answers.

The Navy Charts a Course for Information Dominance

For the U.S. Navy, Information Dominance has become just as important a pillar in its warfighting strategy as fast planes and sturdy warships. Our guest, Vice Admiral Ted Branch, USN, the Navy’s N2/N6 and director of Naval Intelligence, explains how industry can benefit from understanding the Navy’s priorities when it comes to Information Dominance. He will also explain how he manages to juggle four different jobs that are all related to the mission of Information Dominance.

Click here for a short excerpt from VADM Branch


(L-R): Max Cacas, producer/host, AFCEA Answers and Kevin Scheid, Acting Deputy Chief Management Officer, Department of Defense.

Managing Change at the Pentagon

At a time when spending reductions, winding down two decade-long wars, and new threats from new adversaries is the “new normal”, one of the Defense Department’s challenges is managing amidst all this change. In this edition of AFCEA Answers we’ll talk with Kevin Scheid, Acting Deputy Chief Management Officer with DoD about new initiatives to manage the largest federal agency. Hear how a shift in responsibility for business system IT has changed the job of one top DoD official. Plus, Scheid outlines how Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is working on a new roadmap to improve DOD management. 

Click here for a short excerpt from Kevin Scheid


(L-R): Max Cacas, producer / host, “AFCEA Answers”; RADM Bob Day, USCG, Chief Information Officer, U.S. Coast Guard and Commander, U.S. Coast Guard Cyber Command.

Debriefing the Coast Guard CIO

Whether it’s network bandwidth, acquisitions, cybersecurity, or the Joint Information Environment, Rear Admiral Robert Day, Jr., USCG, Chief Information Officer of the U.S. Coast Guard, has been involved in answering the Service’s information technology challenges. In this edition of AFCEA Answers, RADM Day, who also serves as commander of Coast Guard Cyber Command, reflects on his 5 years as CIO, and his 34 years of military service as he prepares to retire this summer. He considers IT to be a “mission enabler” for the Coast Guard, and points to the recently deployed “Rescue 21” shipboard communications system, which he says, “is taking the ‘search’ out of search-and-rescue.”

Click here for a short excerpt from RADM Day


(L-R): Max Cacas, host/producer, AFCEA Answers;  Kshemendra Paul, Program Manager, Information Sharing Environment, Office of the Director of National Intelligence.  

Building an Information Sharing Framework

When minutes count, timely information sharing could be the difference in stopping terrorists and saving lives. This week on "AFCEA Answers", we'll talk to Kshemendra Paul, Program Manager for the Information Sharing Environment in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.  His office spearheads an effort to make possible information sharing between Federal, state and local law enforcment. Its part of a trend toward rapid and secure sharing of critical data when time is of the essence.

Click here for a short excerpt from Kshemendra Paul


(L-R): Brian Dearing, vice president, Business Development and Government Relations, HDT Global; Max Cacas, host/producer, “AFCEA Answers”; Paul Grossman, vice president, International Trade, Virginia Economic Development Partnership.

Going Global for Virginia Business

In the midst of the current decline in federal defense spending, the Commonwealth of  Virginia is taking steps to ensure that companies in the state’s multi-billion dollar defense industry are able to find new business opportunities.  It’s a program that goes beyond the usual “goodwill  tour”. This week on “AFCEA Answers,” we’ll examine the “Going Global” initiative with Paul Grossman, vice president of international trade with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership; and Brian Dearing, vice president of business development and government relations with HDT Global . The initiative is designed to help prepare Virginia businesses to find new markets beyond American shores, and develop business strategies to help them win their share of this business.

Click here for a short excerpt from Paul Grossman

Related Content: SIGNAL December 2013: Program Keeps Defense Companies Viable Through International Trade


This week's guests: Suzanne Spaulding (c), Acting Department of Homeland Security Undersecretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate; and Jill Singer (r), Partner, Deep Water Point Consulting.

Critical Infrastructure Protection

Most people don’t think about critical infrastructure until the power goes out, or fresh drinking water doesn’t flow from the tap. But the federal government has mapped out a plan with the help of industry, to safeguard the nation’s critical infrastructure. On this edition of “AFCEA Answers”, we’ll discuss the nuances of the newly-released National Infrastructure Protection Plan with Suzanne Spaulding, the acting Department of Homeland Security Undersecretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate; and Jill Singer, a partner with Deep Water Point consulting in McLean, Virginia.  

Click here for a short excerpt from Suzanne Spaulding


Best of 2013

As we begin the new year, we thought this would be a good time to recap some of our conversations from the first six months of “AFCEA Answers” broadcasts.  From cloud to tactical radios, mobility to cybersecurity, and even a friendly debate about big data in the intelligence community, we’ll have it all for you.  This episode features top guests from government, industry and academia.  

Click here for a short excerpt from Lt Gen Ronnie Hawkins, Jr., USAF

Click here for a short excerpt from BGen Kevin Nally, USMC


(L-R): Mark Lowenthal, President & CEO, The Intelligence and Security Academy; Max Cacas, host, “AFCEA Answers”; Lewis Shepherd, Director, Microsoft Institute.

Big Data Point-Counterpoint

America's Intelligence Community depends on timely, accurate information to help national leaders make important decisions every day. And yet, increasing use of drones, remote sensors, satellites and a plethora of digital data sources threatens to overwhelm analysts abilities to sort out needles of useful information in the big data haystack. In this edition of AFCEA Answers, Mark Lowenthal from the Intelligence and Security Academy, and Lewis Shepherd with the Microsoft Institute, continue a debate started in the pages of SIGNAL Magazine on whether or not an emphasis on Big Data in the IC should be a top priority at this time.

Related Content: SIGNAL Video November 2013:

Should the Intelligence Community Embrace Big Data?


(L-R): In the studio: Pat Delaney,  University of Maryland University College; Max Cacas, host, “AFCEA Answers”. On the phone/inset (left to right):  Dr. Ron Ross, NIST; Chris May, Carnegie Mellon University CERT.

Cybersecurity Workforce

For more than a decade, experts have been forecasting a shortage in trained cybersecurity professionals.  And the demand for those experts continues, even as government and industry notes an uptick in the number and the nature of cyber threats.  On this edition of “AFCEA Answers”, we get a report card on efforts to educate and train the cybersecurity workforce with Dr. Ron Ross from NIST; Pat Delaney from University of Maryland University College;  and Chris May from Carnegie Mellon University’s CERT program.

Click here for a short excerpt from Dr. Ron Ross

Click here for a short excerpt from Pat Delaney

Click here for a short excerpt from Chris May


(L-R): Ken Gantt, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Biometric Identity Management, Department of Homeland Security; Dr. Stephanie Schuckers, Director of the Center for Information Technology Research (CITeR) and Professor at Clarkson University; Max Cacas host, AFCEA Answers.

Identity Assurance

When it comes to cybersecurity, one of the biggest challenges is verifying the identity of the end user, whether it's for an e-commerce site, or a secure government database. The challenge is multiplied by the explosive growth in the use of mobile devices in both the public and private sector. On this edition of AFCEA Answers, we'll look at government efforts in the realm of identity assurance with Ken Gantt, Acting Deputy Director of the Office of Biometric Identity Management (OBIM) with the Department of Homeland Security. And, we'll examine the work of the multi-institution Center for Identity Technology Research (CITeR), delving into "next-generation" solutions for identity assurance, with its director, Dr. Stephanie Schuckers, a professor at Clarkson University in Pottsdam, NY.

Click here for a short excerpt from Ken Gantt

Click here for a short excerpt from Dr. Stephanie Schuckers


(L-R): Max Cacas, host. AFCEA Answers; Lt Gen Mike Peterson, USAF (Ret.), Vice President, URS; Dr. Ernest McDuffie, lead, National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education, National Institute of Standards and Technology. (Inset/on the phone) Tom Conway, Director, Federal Business Development, McAfee.

Cyber Security Awareness: Safeguarding the Grid

The "persistent threat" is becoming the hallmark of how government and industry deal with cybersecurity concerns, particularly threats to the nation's electrical grid and critical infrastructure. Plus: how is industry and government training and retaining top cybersecurity professionals? On this edition of "AFCEA Answers", we'll explore these topics with Dr. Ernest McDuffie from NIST; Mike Peterson, Vice President with URS, former Air Force CIO; and Tom Conway, Director of Federal Business Development with McAfee.

This episode is brought to you by URS and McAfee.

Click here for a short excerpt from Ernest McDuffie


(L-R): Max Cacas, host, AFCEA Answers; BGen Kevin J. Nally, USMC, Director of C4/CIO, U.S. Marine Corps and MG Dennis Moran, USA (Ret.), Vice President of Government Business Development, Harris RF Communications.

Tactical Radio Communication and Networking

Tactical radios are evolving from devices that merely transmit voice messages from one point to another, into devices that allow warfighters to receive important multimedia information at the edge of the tactical network. But what are the challenges, opportunities - and frustrations - of avoiding past mistakes, and realizing the promise of joint tactical communications devices? We'll explore that on this edition of AFCEA Answers with the Marines CIO, Gen. Kevin Nally USMC, and retired Army General Dennis Moran, Vice President of Government Business Development with Harris RF Communications.

This episode is brought to you by Harris.

Click here for a short excerpt from BGen Kevin Nally, USMC

Related Content: SIGNAL October 2013: New Radios, Waveforms Move Military Communications Into the Sky


In the studio, left to right: Max Cacas, host, AFCEA Answers; Dan Doney, Chief Innovation Officer, Defense Intelligence Agency. On the phone, left to right: Brian Weiss, Vice President, Autonomy, Hewlett-Packard Software and Joseph Opdahl, Director, Marketing, Big Data Analytics and Storage, Intel.

Big Data Part 2

In part two of our look at Big Data, AFCEA Answers explores how the Defense Department is coping with gathering, storing, and analyzing the huge datasets from the growing universe of sensors available to the warfighter. Progress is being made in the five "V's": volume, velocity, variety, veracity, and value, but more work needs to be done, creating potentially profitable business opportunities for innovative firms in the IT industry.

This episode is brought to you by HP and Intel.

Click here for a short excerpt from Dan Doney


(L-R): Max Cacas, host, AFCEA Answers; Kapil Bakshi, Chief Solution Architect, Cisco Public Sector; Simon Szykman, Chief Information Officer, Department of Commerce. On the phone from San Jose, CA, Tony West, VP for Advanced Research and Technologies, Cisco.  

Big Data Part 1

One of the most pressing matters facing federal government IT experts and industry leaders is Big Data. In the first of two shows, we'll explore the challenges of taming the firehose of information in a large federal agency with Simon Szykman, Chief Information Officer with the Department of Commerce, Kapil Bakshi, Chief Solution Architect, Cisco Public Sector and Tony West, VP for Advanced Research & Technologies, Cisco Systems.

This episode is brought to you by Cisco.

Click here for a short excerpt from Simon Szykman


(L-R): Diana Gowen, Senior Vice President/General Manager, CenturyLink; Max Cacas, host, AFCEA Answers; David De Vries, Deputy Chief Information Officer for Information Enterprise, Department of Defense

Enterprise Services

As recently as a decade ago, enterprise services was seen as a way to cut costs and provide more efficient data and telephone services to civilian offices. But now, with the rise of the Pentagon's Joint Information Environment, enterprise services is taking on a new role in providing tactical information advantage to warfighters in the field, and business opportunities to industry capable of providing both the hardware and software to make it happen.

This episode is brought to you by CenturyLink.

Click here for a short excerpt from David De Vries


(L-R): Mark Lambin, Business Development Manager, Cisco Public Sector; Edwin Elmore, Cloud Computing Business Development Manager, Cisco; David McClure, Associate Administrator, Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, General Services Administration; Max Cacas, Host, AFCEA Answers

Cloud Computing

In part two of our examination of cloud computing in the federal government, Dave McClure with the General Services Administration, and Edwin Elmore and Mark Lambdin with Cisco Systems in Washington, provide a report card on cloud computing. How are industry and government meeting the challenges of security, acquisitions and 'big data' when it comes to the cloud? And what do government and industry expect from each other when it comes to the business of cloud computing?

This episode is brought to you by Cisco.

Click here for a short excerpt from David McClure


(L-R): Max Cacas, Producer, AFCEA Answers; Terry Halvorsen, Chief Information Officer, Department of the Navy; Henry Fleischmann, Chief Technologist for Federal Cloud Computing Solutions, HP; Ruchi Bhargava, IT-Hybrid Cloud Program Manager, Intel (not pictured)

Cloud Computing

This AFCEA Answers episode investigates current trends in cloud computing in government and industry. Hear what US Navy CIO Terry Halvorsen has to say about cloud computing in the US Navy.

This episode is brought to you by HP and Intel.


(L-R): Max Cacas, host, AFCEA Answers; Lance Dubsky, Chief Information Security Officer and Director, Information Security Management Office, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), and Albert Kinney, Director, Cybersecurity Capabilities, Enterprise Services, U.S. Public Sector, Hewlett-Packard Company (HP).

Cyber Threat Landscape

This AFCEA Answers episode explores the cyber threat landscape and how it impacts government and industry.

This episode is brought to you by HP.

Click here for a short excerpt from Lance Dubsky


(Top to Bottom): Lt Gen Ronnie Hawkins, Jr., USAF

Director, Defense Information Systems Agency; Kevin Manwiller

Manager, Federal Security Solutions
Cisco; Michael Mulville

Cisco Cybersecurity Solutions Executive


This AFCEA Answers episode tackles issues surrounding mobility for the government and industry community. Find out what Mobility means to Lt Gen Ronnie Hawkins, Jr., USAF, Director, DISA, as he discusses this key disruptive technology with industry experts.

This episode is brought to you by Cisco.

Click here for a short excerpt from Lt Gen Ronnie Hawkins, Jr., USAF





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