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Reaching Out Far Afield

February 2009
By Kent R. Schneider

One of SIGNAL Magazine’s focus topics this month is Southwest Asia. This area of the world receives nearly continuous attention in the global security community because of several reasons: the ongoing conflicts in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the growing threat from Iran, the strategic importance of this region of the world and, most recently, the combat between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. In fact, this volatile region has seized the attention of the Free World for decades. Issues in this area will demand continued focus for decades to come.

Many AFCEA members are deployed or reside in Southwest Asia. To ensure that these members can continue to engage AFCEA and receive the support they deserve, we have chartered three new chapters in this region. These chapters are located in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait. These are multinational chapters designed to support all coalition forces deployed in these areas as well as members of the host nations. Because these chapters are new, and not all AFCEA members deployed in these nations may have been made aware of their stand-up, I provide the contact information below:

Afghan National Chapter
Carl T. Murray, chapter president
carl.murray@us.army.mil

Baghdad Chapter
Col. Karlton D. Johnson, USAF, Multinational Security Transition Command–Iraq (MNSTC-I)/J6
chapter president
karlton.johnson@iraq.centcom.mil
DSN (318) 852-8345
MCI (914) 360-4464
SVoIP (708) 243-1860

South West Asia Chapter—Kuwait
1st Sgt. Robbin Crum, USA, 228th Signal Company, chapter secretary
robbin.crum@us.army.mil

An important point for AFCEA members or potential members who are deployed in this region is that dual chapter membership is available. They can join one of the three Southwest Asia chapters and retain membership at their last assignment or at the location they expect to be assigned next. If one of you has not done this before but wants to, just let me know at ceo@afcea.org, and I will ensure that you are dual-enrolled. As members are deployed or reassigned, we want them to stay fully engaged with AFCEA and to receive information relevant to their chapters. We also want them to continue to receive services, pursue training and education, and remain engaged in a productive dialogue with other members of the global security community who have similar interests.

Previously I have mentioned AFCEA’s increasing emphasis on Web 2.0 technologies and AFCEA-wide online services. Nowhere are these services more relevant than in Southwest Asia. Those of you who are located there cannot easily travel to attend events or training, so we must bring them to you. AFCEA’s Solutions Series, inaugurated in 2008 to bring more in-depth focus on the issues of great importance to the government, provided enhanced emphasis on information sharing, identity assurance, information assurance and cyberspace. Plenary sessions and some track panels for each of these events were broadcast live on the Internet, and all sessions were podcast beginning one day after the completion of each event. Three Solutions events are scheduled in 2009, and they focus on interagency and coalition information sharing; command, control, communications, computers and information (C4I)/information technology acquisition; and a follow-up on cyberspace. Go to www.afcea.org/events for announcements of upcoming events, including Solutions. See www.afcea.org/events/pastevents for audio links and presentations from the 2008 Solutions events, along with those from other major 2008 AFCEA events.

Many other opportunities exist for AFCEA members to gather information and to collaborate. Go to www.afcea.org/signal for the online version of AFCEA’s award-winning SIGNAL Magazine; for SIGNAL archives of past editions; for the association’s monthly e-newsletter SIGNAL Connections; for information on upcoming webinars and archives of past webinars; for links to current blogs and microsites; and for links and information on collaborative assets and social networks such as Second Life, Facebook, Twitter and RSS feeds. Members can avail themselves of many resources, and more are coming.

Finally, check out training and education opportunities at www.afcea.org/education . There, members will find information on scholarships and courses available through the AFCEA Professional Development Center (PDC). Scholarships are available for a variety of professional education objectives. Many of these scholarships and grants can be applied toward online education courses. However, for you or a member of your family to be eligible, you have to apply. Many courses are available through the PDC, and a growing number are online. Check out the offerings.

For those of you in Southwest Asia or with people in Southwest Asia working for or with you, thanks for what you do. We intend to support you to the limit of our resources. Contact your closest chapter if you have not already done so. Let me know if there are additional ways we can support you. Again, feel free to e-mail me at ceo@afcea.org. AFCEA International Headquarters may be half a world away, but we stand alongside you.