Jesus RosaVelez, the new director of the Army Signal Network Enterprise Center (NEC) at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, was the keynote speaker at the chapter’s March luncheon. His address touched on goals for the mission, technology and partnerships for the NEC, which provides command, control, communications, computers and information management operational base services to thousands of customers in the joint environment. RosaVelez—a New Yorker who prefers to be known as J.R.—noted that email services have become one of the staple items (alongside food, shelter and finances) without which expeditionary forces cannot operate. The NEC provides services to some 25,000 email users and even more Web clients, along with a range of information assurance, systems architecture, planning and cost control services. The NEC at Joint Base San Antonio is responsible for practically all of the western continental United States, as well as Puerto Rico. Among the larger organizations it supports are the U.S. Army North, U.S. Army South, the Installation Management Command, Medical Command, Medical Education Training Campus, Army Medical Department and the 502 Air Base Wing. Notably, RosaVelez said the NEC’s mission is sustained with about 50 contractors and 97 full-time employees, including Fred Chapel, a World War II veteran who, at age 89, is one of the oldest government civilian employees on record.
As a director, RosaVelez said he focuses constantly on balancing priorities, culture change and small efficiencies. “You’ve always got to build and sustain your operations over and over, just to be relevant,” he said. “Just like I tell my staff, if were not thinking two years out, were thinking small.” Although he did not speak directly about sequestration and the budget uncertainties weighing on the minds of his listeners, RosaVelez noted that his staff soon would be operating in an even leaner environment with furloughs on the way. Under those conditions, partnerships between industry, government and others—with an open, free flowing exchange of ideas—will be even more important for mission assurance, he said.
In other business, chapter board members discussed plans for the annual chapter event (ACE) set for November and issued a call for volunteers, which was well received. The chapter also presented a $1,000 educational grant to Carol Brown, the science department chair of St. Marys Hall, a San Antonio school that consistently fields a top-performing team in area robotics competitions. The grant will help purchase supplies and equipment for the robotics team. The March luncheon meeting was recorded on video for the first time, using the UStream service. The chapter’s Young AFCEANs have led an effort to broadcast meetings to the Dallas Chapter of AFCEA, which eventually will extend to student chapters at the University of San Antonio and other organizations.