Access the AFCEA Advantage - www.afcea.org
AFCEA International provides a technical and operational forum, free of commercial pressures, in which decision-makers and professionals from government, defence, industry and academia can meet. In an ethical environment they can exchange ideas and concepts, discuss current challenges, identify future requirements and develop solutions in all the disciplines of communications, electronics, information systems and intelligence. The AFCEA forum encourages and enhances open dialogue essential to national and international cooperation and security.
Your participation in this unique, highly successful forum will provide you with a selective environment - a meeting place for professional development that also enables you to develop the contacts and relationships vital to your business strategies and personal networking requirements. AFCEA's many opportunities for interaction and exchange of information include year-round events, national and international conferences and expositions, professional development courses, local-level participation through AFCEA's worldwide Chapter network and an on-line computer service for members. There are opportunities to form new friendships as much from the social programmes as in the professional engagements. In addition members receive a monthly copy of SIGNAL Magazine, the Association's professional publication, and can opt to receive CONNECTIONS, the monthly e-mail news sheet.
Turning now to Europe, AFCEA's first Chapters in Europe were founded by American forces associated with NATO, Combined and U.S. Headquarters, i.e. Paris 1952, London 1954, Naples 1961, Belgium 1968, Stuttgart 1973, Kaiserslautern 1976 and Worms 1977. U.S. corporate interest from Rockwell in the late seventies led to the establishment in 1981 of the Brussels Symposia, which had begun as a Chapter activity in 1979. This event expanded to become an exhibition primarily serving NATO C3 infrastructure improvements. The creation of an office in Brussels to develop and organise this event followed in 1982.
In that year, 1982, Vice Admiral Dr. Jon Boyes, then President and CEO of AFCEA, wrote:
"The rationale for the [European] office was that it should become an international office dedicated to the interests of Europeans and European corporations in AFCEA, whilst at the same time provide access for non-European interests in Europe. All funds are kept in Europe. No monies are returned to the United States, although the value revenues and expenses are folded into the budget."
Consequently, what had previously been a US national association was re-named 'AFCEA International'. The core business has changed little with AFCEA International's European office acting as a conduit for representing European affairs to AFCEA Headquarters, providing a first stop to help with European queries about AFCEA and its administration and running the annual TechNet Europe event. The office serves to tailor the global AFCEA offering to the specific national and cultural environments across Europe. Often this can involve shaping the core AFCEA activities to meet more than the US requirements.
As the size of AFCEA's European activities has increased so has the role of the European office adapted. With 4200 members (250 corporates) belonging to over 30 Chapters in 21 different countries, conversing in 19 different languages the breadth and scope of the office's activities have evolved. The office is run by a permanent staff of three overseen by the AFCEA Europe General Manager, who is employed on a consultancy basis. Much of the activity that used to be contracted out is now done in-house, taking advantage of advances in technology, nevertheless providing a service to European Chapters remains paramount.
The relationship with Chapters, European Regional Vice Presidents and AFCEA International HQ can be developed on a case-by-case basis. A telephone call to the office can be your first stop for any of your local problems: we exist to provide representational services with a focus on events. So, for example, should a Chapter wish to run an event then the AFCEA office can help with advertising, registration, and even at the event itself, though a fee may be charged, particularly where staff travel is concerned.
AFCEA Europe also runs professional development events and more can be learnt of this activity by following the lead from the pdc page of this website. AFCEA International’s website (www.afcea.org) also provides a link to AFCEA’s Educational Foundation and the Professional Development Centre (PDC) that provides the details of a whole range of courses. There are also details of the scholarships and awards that are available.
We can also help non-European industry in making contacts within Europe by using the established Chapter network. And our website (www.afceaeurope.org) is always available as a first port of call when looking at events in Europe, perhaps TechNet Europe, held in the May timeframe or TechNet International held each October in a major western European city. Different national venues are chosen each year to give chapters an opportunity to support these prestigious events whilst still attracting an audience from across Europe and the United states. This provides the local Chapter the opportunity to contribute to the common vision. The TechNet series of events ensures regular contact with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) by inviting civilian and military speakers from the Headquarters staff, Strategic Commanders staffs and supporting Agencies to attend.
AFCEA Europe is a essential component of AFCEA International with strong links to every member of staff in the Fairfax Headquarters. We are delighted to be available in the same time-zone as the European Chapters who make up nearly 15% of AFCEA membership and nearly 25% of corporate members. Perhaps we might be allowed to describe ourselves as A First Class European Asset – or AFCEA for short!