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SIGNAL Connections

New Baghdad Chapter Formed

October 15, 2008
by Katie Packard

AFCEA International is pleased to announce the creation of the new Baghdad Chapter. The chapter’s presence will help further the establishment of a viable network for Iraqi information technology professionals and will serve as a collaborative forum for Iraqi and U.S. industry, government and military personnel.

The chapter’s formation has been in development for the past six months. AFCEA’s expansion policy committee supported the creation of the chapter and recently submitted a proposal to the executive committee, which approved the chapter’s formation. To establish a chapter in a country where no previous chapter exists, a chapter must obtain a petition of at least 25 members, the recommendation of the expansion policy committee, the recommendation of the president and chief executive officer of AFCEA International, and the approval of the executive committee in order to be granted charter status.

Curt Adams, director of member and chapter services, credits Col. Karlton Johnson, USAF, J-6, Multinational Security Transition Command—Iraq (MNSTC-I), and chapter president, as the “prime mover” behind the chapter’s charter status. Others who played a key role in the chapter’s formation include Col. Brian Moore, USA, vice president; 1st Lt. Ashley Pyles, USAF, secretary; and Capt. Stephen Grundorf, USA, treasurer.

Northern Virginia Chapter Helps County Earn Regional Emmy

September 15, 2008
by Katie Packard

Fairfax County Public Schools won a regional Emmy Award in June for the second installment of its documentary series Flight School. The documentary series was funded in part by AFCEA’s Northern Virginia Chapter, which donated $350,000 to Fairfax County Public Schools’ multimedia department and its co-producer, the Smithsonian National Air and SpaceMuseumSteven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

The series features four interactive electronic field trips designed for students in grades four through eight. It aims to introduce students to the mathematics and science principles involved in the evolution of flight. “FlightSchool: Higher, Faster, Farther!” is the second installment in the series and won the regional Emmy in the Instructional-Information Program category. The National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences presented the award at the 50th Annual Emmy Awards. In the episode, students are shown the scientific principles that make controlled heavier-than-air flight possible through interviews with curators and discussions of rare artifacts. 

Pacific Challenges Reach Far and Wide

September 15, 2008

The Asia-Pacific region has been strategically important to the United States since the country realized it was as much a Pacific nation as it was an Atlantic one. The United States demonstrated that it was a global power when it sent its Great White Fleet to visit faraway countries that many Americans had never visited. Conflicts and colonies followed, and now the nation has many standing defense treaties and a military presence that spans half the globe.

Ironically, the success of the United States in ensuring regional security belies many of the challenges facing that vast area. Geography presents the most obvious challenge; the Pacific is the world’s largest ocean, and its shores include dozens of countries covering nearly as many time zones. Maintaining an effective military reach across these vast distances requires an extraordinary logistics effort, but even a discipline as simple as communications can be vexing.

Which leads to the second challenge: technology. The network-centric force requires more than just over-the-horizon radio links. Various elements scattered among diverse locations must have the connectivity necessary to take part in network-centric operations fully. This mandates satellite links, of course, but it also raises the problem of bandwidth limitations on mobile platforms such as smaller ships. As point-to-point messages encompass more information, the long arm of communications must carry a larger load.

Webinar Tackles Networking Tremors

September 15, 2008

The Defense Information Systems Agency continues its work to fulfill its vision and strategy in bringing coherence to U.S. Defense Department networks to give warfighters timely access to relevant information. Achieving this goal has led to the Enterprise Information Environment, which provides standards, rules for data accuracy and the framework for placing data on the network as well as governance of information on the network. While the benefits of a multidimensional network are many, the strain this design places on the network structure also can be significant.

According to the Ciena Corporation, three developments in networks currently underway are significantly affecting wide area networks (WANs). The first is a growing adoption of service-oriented architectures, or Web services, which are fundamentally shifting the way that organizations implement enterprise software. The second is the use of networked remote storage, a move with a wide range of goals that include facilitating information sharing between merged companies or ensuring continuity of operations after a disaster. The third recent development is the increase in the use of grid computing, which is the latest technical answer to asset virtualization. One outcome of these trends—not only on military networks but on commercials ones as well—is an influx of inter-site traffic, Ciena officials say.

Data Without Borders

September 15, 2008
by Henry S. Kenyon

Modern Europe depends on information sharing among governments, businesses and individuals. Restructured from the ruins of World War II, institutions such as the European Union and NATO are built on a solid platform of communications between governments and militaries. Information sharing is even more critical in a computerized and networked world. However, while the Internet opens new opportunities and allows vast amounts of information to be passed among organizations, it also creates a host of new challenges.

The benefits and pitfalls of information sharing will be examined at AFCEA’s TechNet Europe 2008 conference and symposium to be held October 15-17 in Prague, Czech Republic. Titled “Distance Defeated—Remoteness Ignored,” the event explores the theory and practice of multinational information exchange. The conference also examines new technologies in the commercial sector that can aid warfighters.

The idea behind this year’s TechNet Europe began with a simple query on Google, explains Cdre. Robert Howell, RN (Ret.), AFCEA Europe’s general manager. He notes that a search for “information sharing” returned more than 47,000 entries. Cdre. Howell says he was struck by the range of government agencies, authorities and individuals who view information sharing as essential to their businesses.

Small Business Success Requires Networking

September 15, 2008
by Maryann Lawlor

Large and small companies may differ in many ways, but when it comes to business development they have a lot in common. Whether a firm has 10 employees or 10,000, it must make sure that the program managers and contracting officers know, like, respect and trust them. One of the few ways to achieve this is by researching the agencies well and building relationships with the people who work in them.

William Hamilton, vice president of business development, strategic planning, proposal management and support, Advantage Consulting Incorporated, offers this advice to small companies that want to do business with government organizations. One challenge that technology firms face is that their employees have not developed the skills they need to connect in the human network as well as they have developed their knowledge of bits, bytes, software and hardware. But when small firms plan to improve their business development—not sales—savvy, it’s time to let go of the mouse and shake hands instead. “The line from Field of Dreams, ‘If you build it, they will come,’ doesn’t work,” Hamilton states.

“Government agencies know the companies can do the job, but in business development, they want to know, ‘How well do I know these people?’” Hamilton says. “They want to know, ‘Do I know them? Do I like them? Do I respect them? Do I trust them?’”

Laboratory Integrates Intelligence

September 15, 2008
by Maryann Lawlor

Intelligence data is under a virtual microscope and literally surrounding analysts with the opening of a facility at the U.S. Joint Forces Command, Norfolk, Virginia. Under the auspices of the Joint Transformation Command for Intelligence, the Joint Intelligence Laboratory is the new home for representatives from the services as well as from industry and academia. The laboratory enables them to view real-world operational data in innovative ways and solve commanders’ real-world problems.

The Joint Intelligence Laboratory (JIL) is the latest step in the U.S. Joint Forces Command’s (JFCOM’s) journey toward fulfilling a directive former Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen Cambone issued. JFCOM was instructed to manage a joint intelligence laboratory in which any joint intelligence concept, process, methodology, technology, prototype or transformational initiative could be tested with intelligence community participants.

Programs Pull Korea Into Communications Future

September 15, 2008
by Rita Boland

The U.S. Army is overhauling its communications in Korea to update decades-old infrastructure. Three major projects will offer commanders better information for their decision-making processes and put in place an architecture that enables necessary capabilities for the next 10 to 15 years. Some phases of the work are complete, and others will continue through 2012.

The Korea Optical Fiber Backbone Replacement (KOBR) program, the Korea Optical Transmission Network (KOTNet) program and the Digital Microwave Upgrade (DMU) program are being implemented in the U.S. Forces Korea area of responsibility through a partnership between the Regional Chief Information Office-Korea, which is part of the Army’s Network Enterprise Technology Command, and the Product Manager, Defense Wide Transmission Systems (PM DWTS). The product manager is part of the Army’s Program Executive Office, Enterprise Information Systems’ Project Manager, Defense Communications and Army Transmission Systems. Soldiers, airmen and civilians from the 1st Signal Brigade, 251st Signal Detachment, 6th Signal Command, 36th and 41st signal battalions and 51st and 8th communications squadrons also assist the programs.

AFCEA International Conducts Second Annual Member Survey


AFCEA International’s core strength is its members, and the association wants to ensure that your membership needs are being met. To collect the information it needs to continue improving service, AFCEA will send an e-mail to all members in October with a link to your opportunity to provide valuable input on the organization. The feedback from this survey will be used to plan your AFCEA of the future.
Questions will focus on member satisfaction, programs and services, member benefits and AFCEA events. Your responses will help the association tailor membership benefits, programs and services to meet members’ needs.
AFCEA conducted its first annual membership survey last fall and was pleased with the results. “We had a high member response rate,” says Curt Adams, director, Member and Chapter Services. “We found that the majority of members are highly satisfied with AFCEA’s service, and we also received excellent feedback with specific suggestions for improvement.”

Based on that feedback, AFCEA has made these changes:


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