Event Coverage

April 1, 2018
By Julianne Simpson
Maj. Gen. John B. Morrison Jr., USA, commanding general, U.S. Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon, Georgia, offers welcoming remarks at AFCEA’s first Cyber Education, Research and Training Symposium.

There are no military operations without cyber, and there is no cyber without trained professionals who can seize the high ground in that virtual domain. And with the cyber threat changing on a regular basis, those professionals must continually work to stay a step ahead of adversaries in all aspects of the discipline.

Education and training were the focal points of the first-of-its-kind Cyber Education, Research and Training Symposium, hosted in January by AFCEA in Augusta, Georgia. The sold-out two-day event, also known as CERTS, connected military and government stakeholders with solution providers from academia, business and research centers.

April 1, 2018
By Ali Cybulski, Robert K. Ackerman and Beverly Cooper
The heads of the three U.S. sea services (from l)—Adm. Paul F. Zukunft, USCG, Gen. Robert B. Neller, USMC, and Adm. John M. Richardson, USN—discuss the challenges they face in a town hall session moderated by Adm. James G. Stavridis, USN (Ret.), at West 2018.  Michael Carpenter

Money might buy badly needed fleet upgrades, but it won’t buy fixes for problems that have been building in the sea services over the past decade. Reforming technology acquisition, speeding up innovation and reclaiming combat supremacy will require shifting away from traditional approaches, said the chiefs of the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard and other experts at the West 2018 conference, co-sponsored by AFCEA International and the U.S. Naval Institute.

January 1, 2018
By Beverly Cooper
Resilience is an enabler, but it is not just one thing. It involves making progress with redundancy, sensors, computing capacity, bandwidth and connectivity, says Brig. Gen. Paul H. Fredenburgh III, USA, director, Command, Control, Communications and Cyber (C4), PACOM (r), in a panel discussion exploring international issues.

Mission assurance and resilience can be interpreted differently, but having relevant tools and capabilities, developing solid multilateral partnerships and employing a trained work force are critical requirements for meeting many mission objectives. Equally important is the ability to convert data into actionable knowledge to support decision making in a way that can respond flexibly in a variety of scenarios.

January 1, 2018
By Maj. Gen. Erich Staudacher, GEAF (Ret.)
Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist addresses the audience at TechNet Europe 2017 in Stockholm.

The increasing hybrid military threat in Europe is becoming more closely related to developments in cyber technology. Cyber can both favor hybrid warlike activities and bolster situational awareness and swift reaction. Defending a modern society, which depends heavily on social media and critical infrastructure, requires a well-trained and prepared cyber defense force.

January 1, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
As part of its information technology modernization effort, the U.S. Army aims to harness agile software development and cut software patching costs and software lines, says Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford, USA, the Army’s chief information officer (CIO)/G-6, at MILCOM 2017 in Baltimore.

The U.S. Department of Defense is seeing the nation’s adversaries use capabilities better than the American military, but change is underway. In particular, the Army recognizes that it must dust off some of its aging procurement processes and leverage commercial technology to regain an advantage over its enemies, said Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford, USA, the Army’s chief information officer/G-6, at the MILCOM 2017 conference in Baltimore.

October 18, 2017
By Maj. Gen. Erich Staudacher, GEAF (Ret.)
AFCEA Regional Vice President Harri Larsson (l) speaks with Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist at TechNet Europe 2017 in Stockholm.

The increasing hybrid military threat in Europe is becoming more closely related to developments in cyber technology. Cyber can both favor hybrid warlike activities and bolster situational awareness and swift reaction. Defending a modern society, which depends heavily on social media and critical infrastructure, requires a well-trained and prepared cyber defense force.

October 1, 2017
By George I. Seffers and Maryann Lawlor
Speaking at TechNet Augusta 2017, Lt. Gen. Paul Nakasone, USA, commanding general, U.S. Army Cyber Command, said the multidomain battlefield of the future will include more robots, unmanned convoys and pilotless ships and aircraft as well as cyber and other transformational capabilities.

Evolutionary threats, global instability and the rapid pace of technological change are influencing the U.S. Army’s next steps for planning, training and fighting. Although the service has made significant network improvements for more than a decade, its leaders agree that more progress is needed to operate in the contested environment of the future.

August 1, 2017
By Julianne Simpson
Paul D. Nielsen, director and CEO at Carnegie Mellon’s Software Engineering Institute, speaks at the AFCEA-GMU Critical Issues in C4I Symposium in May at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

In its ninth iteration, the AFCEA-GMU Critical Issues in C4I Symposium brought together leaders in academia, industry and government in May at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, to address important topics in command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I) technology. The two-day program focused on increased autonomy and spectrum management, among other subjects.

August 1, 2017
By Sandra Jontz

Conquering cyberthreats that pose a national security risk means pairing cutting-edge technology and leading-edge talent, according to U.S. Defense Department experts.

The department’s technology wish list, discussed during the Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium (DCOS), touches on a number of disruptive areas, including machine learning, biometrics, the cloud, what officials are dubbing “software-defined everything,” and solutions to improve mobility and identity protections. Experts shared the challenges and solutions of leveraging technology and talent at the AFCEA International event June 13-15 in Baltimore.

July 1, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman
NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, Gen. Denis Mercier, FRAF, discusses the importance of interoperability among member nations at NITEC 2017 in Ottawa, Ontario.

The road for NATO to achieve communications interoperability must be paved with innovation and effective cybersecurity, top leaders recently said. Only then can the alliance fulfill its missions and continue to function as it faces a wide range of threats in a time of tight budgets. 

However, identifying technology needs and incorporating them is easier said than done. NATO and its 28 member nations still lack a concrete plan to rush new capabilities into alliance and national systems. Intricate procurement processes compound the absence of cooperation among contracted firms, while cyber adversaries continue to improve and broaden their methods.

May 24, 2017
By Julianne Simpson
Dr. Paul D. Nielsen, director and CEO, Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, speaks at the AFCEA/George Mason University Critical Issues in C4I Symposium.

Autonomous functionality is increasing. The evidence is everywhere from drones and self-driving cars to voice-controlled devices such as IBM's Watson and Amazon’s Echo. The key to successfully transitioning to these increasingly autonomous systems for the military and defense industry is trust, said Dr. Paul D. Nielsen, director and CEO, Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie Mellon University.

May 24, 2017
By Julianne Simpson

Managing spectrum, much like other national resources such as water, natural gas and land, is a growing issue due to the number of users. Now more than ever, with growing cybersecurity threats, it's important to outline a national approach to spectrum utilization for both the U.S. economy and the federal government.

May 25, 2017
By Julianne Simpson
Paul Tilghman, program manager, Microsystems Office, DARPA, speaks at the AFCEA/GMU Critical Issues in C4I Symposium.

The world of spectrum is exploding and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) wants in. Paul Tilghman, program manager, Microsystems Office, DARPA, believes that collaborative use of spectrum can make this scarce resource available to everybody but many challenges exist.

“We are not nimble right now with spectrum. We need to move away from worrying about spectrum availability and think about how we can automate it,” Tilghman said during his morning keynote address at the AFCEA/GMU Critical Issues in C4I Symposium.

May 24, 2017
By Breann Pendleton
Lt. Gen. Alan Lynn, USA, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency, addresses attendees during the 2016 Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium. Photo by Michael Carpenter

If they play their cards right, conference attendees can get much more out of attending an event than just listening to the who’s who of this career field or that. At this year’s Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium, or DCOS, open ears can also lead to open opportunities. Not only do attendees get the chance to listen to experts, they can enhance careers by receiving continuing education units.

Currently, 21 continuing education sessions will be offered during the three-day symposium, hosted by AFCEA International. It takes place June 13-15 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore.

May 1, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman

U.S. laws and the lack of a firm national cybersecurity policy are restricting the Army’s actions in its around-the-clock battle against dangerous cyber adversaries. The service lacks the authority to engage in activities that truly resolve digital conflicts, although it could earn the authority through its ongoing efforts. The Army is challenged to both streamline its fight against cyberthreats and exploit continually changing technologies.

April 27, 2017
By Maryann Lawlor
People young and old—and even golden retriever Biscuit—reached out to welcome World War II and Korean War veterans arriving at Reagan National Airport as part of the Honor Flight program.

For some, networking is the most intangible yet valuable AFCEA benefit. I first met Vice Adm. Nancy Brown, USN (Ret.), in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. She was a rear admiral at the time assigned to the Pentagon, but a temporary relocation of offices spared her group some of the horrors of the attack on the Pentagon.

I was interviewing her for a story on the Navy’s creation of a new restricted line designation for naval officers: the information professional community. “One reason we are doing this in the Navy is that the Chief of Naval Operations and senior people know the importance of technology,” she had said. Yes, that was in 2001.

April 26, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman
Ernest J. Herold, deputy assistant secretary general for defense investment at NATO, discusses the changes NATO is—and must be—undergoing in the acquisition realm during NITEC 2017 in Ottawa.

NATO is undergoing needed change and striving to spend more on vital projects, but it must ramp up these efforts to be successful, said a former U.S. Army veteran who is the deputy assistant secretary general for defense investment at NATO. Ernest J. Herold told the Wednesday audience in his keynote address at NITEC 2017 in Ottawa that NATO needs to adapt to survive. In recent years, the balance has tilted in favor of collective defense, but further changes are necessary.

“For NATO to remain relevant, it needs to adapt to the changing security environment and its challenges,” he stated.

April 26, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman
Corinne Charette, senior assistant deputy minister, Spectrum, Information Technologies and Telecommunications Sector, Canada, describes how her country is an emerging source of cyber and space technologies at NITEC 2017.

A new generation of secure space satellites will both serve Canada and contribute to NATO innovation, said a government official. Corinne Charette, senior assistant deputy minister, Spectrum, Information Technologies and Telecommunications Sector, Canada, told the audience at NITEC 2017 in Ottawa that the country will benefit both socially and economically from the new orbiters looming just over the horizon.

Charette emphasized that these satellites, which will represent cutting-edge space technologies, will have effective cybersecurity. That cybersecurity may originate in Canada, as she noted the country has a burgeoning high-technology industry.

April 25, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman
A panel explores acquisition innovation at NITEC 2017 in Ottawa.

Useful methods of encouraging innovation in military cyber must be consolidated to achieve success, according to high-technology executives. Speaking on the second day of NITEC 2017 in Ottawa, this panel of experts outlined useful measures of boosting innovation, and then warned they must be part of a larger overall effort.

April 25, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman
Mark Anderson, president of Palo Alto Networks, describes cybersecurity threats and solutions to the audience at NITEC 2017 in Ottawa.

Cybersecurity has not kept up with changes in the realm that opened the door to the security challenges facing networks today, said a Silicon Valley executive. Mark Anderson, president of Palo Alto Networks, told the audience at day two of NITEC 2017 in Ottawa that new approaches to security and network architecture must be implemented to turn the tide against cyber adversaries.

“The past decade, there have been tectonic shifts in the IT [information technology] landscape that created the perfect storm,” Anderson said. He mentioned several activities—and lack of key actions—that enabled adversaries to take advantage of their own burgeoning skills to penetrate networks nearly at will.

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