As AFCEA International looks ahead in the new year, a look back at the past year may help provide a glimpse of the future. The association enjoyed many successes over the past year.
AFCEA International opened four new chapters in 2000—all of them overseas. The association established its presence in Ukraine with a chapter in Kiev. A second Bulgarian chapter began operations in Varna. The association moved into Latin America with its new Buenos Aires chapter. And, September saw the dawn of a new concept with the creation of AFCEA’s first afloat chapter aboard the USS Blue Ridge, the command ship for the Seventh Fleet. The efforts of Chapter President Lt. Cmdr. Pat Byrne, USN, and Capt. Manuel A. Malagon-Fajar, USN, helped this endeavor take AFCEA chapters where Navy personnel are located.
Other chapters continue to prosper, and many of them are producing highly visible regional shows. The Rocky Mountain Chapter’s SpaceComm, Dayton-Wright’s Infotech, Southern Arizona’s C4IST Exhibition, Fort Monmouth’s TechNet Fort Monmouth, and Fort Gordon’s Signal Symposium are just a few of the annual events that extend AFCEA’s presence. New to this list is the Scott-St. Louis Chapter’s Mid-America event.
AFCEA International’s co-sponsorship of regional chapter shows also is producing dividends. The Hawaii Chapter’s TechNet Asia-Pacific International symposium and exposition continues to set new records for participation and attendance. And, this year, the Tampa-St. Petersburg Chapter is teaming with AFCEA to make its TechNet Tampa show an annual event.
The association’s committees are active in charting the course for the future. The Membership, Technical and Intelligence committees continue to meet regularly to consider new AFCEA thrusts and plan events. A new organization, the Strategic Development Committee, was constituted this year. It has taken the initiative in working toward providing new services and products to serve corporate sponsors.
This past year, for the first time, a substantial number of international members were incorporated into the committee structure. International members occasionally participated in the past, but a greater representation on AFCEA committees was witnessed in 2000. This achievement was aided by incorporating teleconferences at most committee meetings, which obviated the need for overseas members to travel.
AFCEA’s civilian government outreach program produced significant results in 2000, and this was embodied in the annual Virtual Government event and the GSA/FTS show in Dallas. For the Virtual Government conference, AFCEA partnered with the Federal CIO Council to produce what emerged as a highly successful event. The CIO Council is partnering with AFCEA again for this year’s conference, which it is referring to as “the CIO Council’s flagship event.” AFCEA is looking toward adding a Treasury Department event in the coming year as well.
In the publications arena, AFCEA International continues to progress in providing better value to its members through SIGNAL Magazine. Its regular readers by now have noticed a new look in its layout, which debuted in September. This new design, which enables more artwork and features greater variety of formats, has been well-received.
Supplementing the magazine’s regular monthly coverage is the SIGNAL Focus series. These special reports focus on a particular military installation connected with a strong local AFCEA presence and an exhibition or symposium. The first version in 1999 covered Fort Gordon in Georgia, and last year’s focus reported on activities underway at Fort Huachuca, Arizona.
AFCEA International Press crossed a threshold with book sales on Amazon.com. Two particularly active titles have been On Intelligence, by Robert Steele, and Cyberspace 3.0, edited by Col. Alan D. Campen, USAF (Ret.). With this new distribution site established, readers can look forward to one or more new books each year.
The Educational Foundation continues to provide vital aid to students and learning institutions. The combined scholarships and grants from AFCEA chapters and the headquarters has annually totaled more than $1 million for the past three years. The headquarters provided more than 120 scholarships and grants totaling almost $400,000. Professional Development Center courses are thriving amid a new curriculum. AFCEA reviewed its courses and replaced many with new offerings that reflect the requirements of the information age.
These successes do not belie a tendency to rest on association laurels, however. AFCEA International is constantly discussing possible alliances or mergers with other like-minded associations. This trend has been occurring in the business arena for some time now, and the association world is not immune from its pressures and inherent advantages. All discussions with other associations, however, are built around matching the missions, objectives and memberships of the two organizations.
Association teaming is not new to AFCEA. The association has teamed with the Naval Institute for several years in the Western Conference and Exposition in San Diego. That eventcontinues to grow annually with record exhibit sales and attendance figures each.
Nonetheless, any future alliance or integration must serve the best interests of the association. AFCEA International is a service organization trying to provide better service to all of its members. If forming an alliance or integrating with another association accomplishes that goal, then AFCEA wants to be in the lead rather than fill a reactive role playing catch-up. Most importantly, members’ views are paramount, and the association will not make any decisions in a vacuum.
AFCEA International has had a good year in all respects, and I thank the membership for its continuing support.