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The Bottom Line: Fewer Conferences? So What?

February 15, 2013
By Maryann Lawlor

The cancellation of several military and government conferences is among the latest collateral damage of financial belt-tightening and looming additional defense budget cuts. But the real question is, “So what?” Read that question carefully. It does not mean, “What does it matter?” but rather “What do global security professionals do now to develop effective networks with the business sector?”

And, those are only two of the important questions raised by the reduction in the number of conferences during a time when cutting costs is crucial. Among the others are:

Face Time Benefits Small and Large Businesses

February 15, 2013
By Maryann Lawlor

AFCEA’s Small Business team is hosting a partnership symposium during the AFCEA Homeland Security Conference that features one-on-one meetings between large companies and small businesses to determine partnering potential.

Meet Linda Millis, Vice President, Industry Programs, AFCEA International

November 15, 2012
By Maryann Lawlor

Growing up in the suburbs of Baltimore, Linda Millis didn’t aim for a career in the intelligence field, but the National Security Agency (NSA) had different plans. Agency personnel recognized linguistic talent when they saw it—particularly in someone who majored in Russian at the University of Maryland—and recruited her as a Cold Warrior. And the NSA wasn’t the only organization to see Millis’ potential value to U.S. security.

Cyber Committee Shares Expertise

November 15, 2012
By Maryann Lawlor

Ranging in topics from cloud computing to supply chain management, AFCEA’s Cyber Committee has published five white papers. Available on the committee’s website, information ranges from the basics to high-level recommendations that will be useful not only to organizations’ information technology personnel but also to leadership planning strategies for the future.

 

Managing Change in the
 Intelligence Community

October 1, 2012
By Max Cacas

A new computing architecture emphasizes shared resources.

The nation’s intelligence community has embarked on a path toward a common computer desktop and a cloud computing environment designed to facilitate both timely sharing of information and cost savings. The implementation could result in budget savings of 20 to 25 percent over existing information technology spending within six years, but the ramifications could include large cultural changes that result both in lost jobs and business for industry partners.

Al Tarasiuk, chief intelligence officer for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), explains that the changes will be difficult. Agency employees, and the vendors who help operate and manage information technology for the 17 agencies composing the nation’s intelligence apparatus, will feel the effects of the cost cuts.

“Right now, technology is not our biggest risk. The culture change is our biggest risk, and that extends to our industry partners. We have a lot of industry employed in the community through service contracts and other things. They could help, or they could choose not to help,” Tarasiuk emphasizes, candidly describing the pivotal role of these firms in a transition that could spell the loss of both business and jobs. “They know, and I’ve been very open with them, that we’re not going to need the pool of resources of people that we have today to manage what we have in the future.”

Aerospace Giant Beefs Up Defense Business With Mergers, Huge Contract Wins

August 2012
By Michael A. Robinson, SIGNAL Magazine

No one can accuse Dennis Muilenburg of shying away from a big challenge. Muilenburg is the president and chief executive officer of Boeing’s Defense, Space and Security division. The unit counts $32 billion in sales and a global work force of 62,000. He must navigate the division through uncertain waters amid potentially large government budget cuts and increased competition.

Rare Earths to Become Less Scarce

Janaury 2012
By Michael A. Robinson, SIGNAL Magazine

The international mining community is racing to turn the tables on the People’s Republic of China by challenging its absolute dominance of the market for rare earths, a series of elements in the periodic table critical for the U.S. military’s high-technology communications and weaponry.

Putting Satellites in Soldiers Hands

November 2011
By Michael A. Robinson, SIGNAL Magazine

Jim Ramsey never dreamed he would become a leader in the satellite communications industry. He just wanted to be a soldier. But his U.S. Army superiors had other ideas. They decided to transfer him from infantry to combat support, specifically as an officer in the Signal Corps. Ramsey was anything but happy about his impending transfer in the late 1980s.

Company Rebuilds From the Ashes of the Wireless Industry

August 2011
By Michael A. Robinson, SIGNAL Magazine

Eric DeMarco knows how to cut a wide swath through the Southern California defense community. He just jumps in the corporate car and tools around town.

Avionics Keys Successful Growth Strategy

July 2011
By Michael A. Robinson, SIGNAL Magazine

Combining alpine skiing with avionics may not be a standard formula for business success except to Brad Lawrence. The 64-year-old avionics executive is pursuing an aggressive business model that fits with his personal recreational philosophy as he takes his high-technology company forward in an era of tighter defense budgets. Based in the Seattle suburb of Bellevue, Lawrence’s Esterline Technologies Corporation is at the forefront of broad new economic imperatives reshaping defense contractors in this time of shifting Pentagon funding priorities.

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