Event Coverage

April 25, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman
Several leaders from academia and industry accept awards for the NCI Agency's Defence Innovation Challenge.

The NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency has named 10 innovations as the best of its Defence Innovation Challenge, which is designed to spur new solutions to agency challenges. The agency announced and presented the awards at NITEC 2017 in Ottawa. The winners, representing both industry and academia, are:

Radionor Communications (Norway): Long-range wireless communications: resilient terrestrial long-range or rapidly deployable, scalable IT infrastructure

Larus Technologies Corporation (Canada): Service management automation and analytics

April 24, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman
Glen F. Post III, CEO and president, CenturyLink, describes the difficulty in building a network of trusted peers at NITEC 2017.

U.S. cybersecurity firms have discovered the value and the difficulty of building a stable of trusted peers, but extending that principle to the multinational status of NATO will be as challenging as it is important, according to a U.S. technology firm leader experienced with both government and industry. Glen F. Post III, CEO and president, CenturyLink, told the first-day audience at NITEC 2017 in Ottawa that his firm serves its customers by relying on trusted partners who can support the company as needed.

April 1, 2017
By Sandra Jontz
Service chiefs (l-r) from the U.S. Coast Guard, Navy and Marine Corps discuss critical issues they are confronting. Photo by Michael Carpenter

The gravest national security threat to the United States is a product of its own making.

By far, concerns emanating from the cyber domain outrank conventional conflict hazards posed by the Chinas, Irans, North Koreas or Russias of the world, military leaders said in February during West 2017 in San Diego.

April 1, 2017
By Julianne Simpson

Making innovation the prime driver of the U.S. defense community will require an ongoing, long-term effort, defense experts say. Known as the third offset, this endeavor is more of a methodology than an objective, they explained at a recent two-day conference.

AFCEA International, along with Second Front Systems and Business Executives for National Security, held the inaugural Offset Symposium February 14-15 in San Francisco to improve connections between venture capitalists and government innovators. The forum at the Marines’ Memorial Club aimed to advance the work of building the ties that bind innovative technology clusters such as Silicon Valley and the national security community. 

January 1, 2017
By George I. Seffers
Terry Halvorsen, Defense Department chief information officer, warned during the AFCEA TechNet Asia-Pacific conference in Honolulu that cracking down too severely on the insider threat has a downside. Photo by Bob Goodwin

Synchronizing cyber with other domains—air, land, sea and space—is still a challenge, but the situation is improving, Lt. Col. Mark Esslinger, USAF, U.S. Pacific Command Joint Cyber Center, asserted during the AFCEA TechNet Asia-Pacific conference November 15-17 in Honolulu.

Col. Esslinger served on a panel of cyber experts. Panelists agreed that the authorities to conduct cyber operations—along with policies, doctrines, tactics, techniques and procedures—still need to be defined. “The cyber mission force is still maturing, and the combatant commands are learning to integrate their capabilities,” Col. Esslinger offered.

December 1, 2016
By Mandy Rizzo
Panelists discussing cyber issues at TechNet Europe 2016 include (l-r) Dr. Phil Jones, Airbus Defense and Space; Dennis Pieterse, CGI; Peter Rost, Rohde & Schwarz Cybersecurity GmbH; Christoph Erdmann, Secusmart GmbH; and Brig. Gen. Hans Folmer, NEA, Netherlands Defense Cyber Command.

AFCEA Europe’s second-largest flagship event, TechNet Europe, featured the latest topics in cybersecurity and command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR). This year’s conference, held October 3-5 in Rotterdam, Netherlands, was organized under the patronage of the Netherlands Ministry of Defense in cooperation with AFCEA’s The Hague Chapter and welcomed more than 200 attendees from 17 countries.

December 1, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
Lt. Gen. Alan Lynn, USA, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency and commander, Joint Force Headquarters–Department of Defense Information Networks, addresses cyber-based network issues at MILCOM 2016 in Baltimore. Photos by Mike Carpenter

Even as the U.S. Defense Department’s designated Cyber Mission Force reached the key milestone of initial operating capability in October, operators still are struggling to figure out “fighting in the cyber domain,” said Lt. Gen. Alan Lynn, USA, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency. Leaders are looking to strike the perfect balance between the competing priorities of speed, security and cost.

November 1, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
The rapid evolution of technology complicates analysts’ work in gauging how developments will affect national security, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says at the Intelligence & National Security Summit.

The United States has strengthened its homeland security in the 15 years since terrorists attacked the nation, and significant work to reform the intelligence community means the critical agencies now communicate better with each other than ever before. Yet the world remains a perilous place, and security likely will worsen in the near future. U.S.

October 6, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
Students check in for the one-day West Point Leadership and Ethics Conference 2016, held in March at George Mason University's Arlington, Virginia, campus.

High school students should begin now to voice interest to participate in an annual ethics and leadership program that seeks to equip students with skills to process and handle difficult life situations.

Each year, the West Point Leadership and Ethics Conference (WPLEC) draws roughly 200 juniors in the Washington, D.C., area for a day of learning, camaraderie, solving ethical dilemmas and even having some fun, program founders say. Faculty members from 46 area high schools also attend, with some earning continuing education credit for participation.

October 1, 2016
By George I. Seffers
Participating in the panel session “Building and Securing the Cyber Mission Force” at AFCEA’s TechNet Augusta 2016 are (l-r) Brig. Gen. Robert J. Skinner, USAF, deputy commander, Joint Force Headquarters Department of Defense Information Network; Brig. Gen. Maria B. Barrett, USA, deputy commanding general, Joint Force Headquarters–Cyber; Brig. Gen. Welton Chase Jr., USA, commanding general, 7th Signal Command (Theater); and moderator Maj. Gen. Barbara Fast, USA (Ret.), senior vice president, CGI.

U.S. military officials in recent years have preached the need for a convergence of capabilities, including cyber and electronic warfare, into fully integrated operations. That need gains urgency as it becomes increasingly clear that Russia already has made significant progress toward that goal.

At the AFCEA TechNet Augusta 2016 conference August 2-4 in Augusta, Georgia, Maj. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, USA, then-commander, U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence, reported Russian Federation forces are employing a “full range of information warfare capabilities to effectively find and fix their opponents.”

September 9, 2015
By Robert K. Ackerman
James Clapper, director of national intelligence, leads off a day of discussion at the AFCEA/INSA Intelligence and National Security Summit.

Intelligence and National Security Summit 2015

The SIGNAL Magazine Online Show Daily

Day 1

Quote of the Day:

“I look forward to the day when we talk about winning in the information space.”—Brig. Gen. Michael Groen, USMC, director of intelligence, U.S. Marine Corps


The U.S. intelligence community is striving to increase public trust concurrent with improving national security domestically and overseas. While those two tasks might seem complementary, achieving them may require contradictory activities. Looming over these challenges is the greater need for effective cyber operations, both offensive and defensive.

September 10, 2015
By Robert K. Ackerman
David Sanger, chief Washington correspondent for the New York Times, moderates a panel featuring Rep. Devin Nunes (R, CA) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), chairman and ranking member respectively of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence as they open Day 2 of the AFCEA/INSA Intelligence and National Security Summit.

Intelligence and National Security Summit 2015

The SIGNAL Magazine Online Show Daily

Day 2

Quote of the Day:

“It’s time we held government accountable.”—Melissa Hathaway, president of Hathaway Global Strategies


The U.S. intelligence community must bring its complementary skills to bear against adversaries that are changing the playing field and the rules of confrontation. These foes range from criminals to terrorists and nation-states, and their goals run the gamut from profit to destruction of the Free World.

August 1, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
Adm. Michael Rogers, USN, commander of U.S. Cyber Command and director of the National Security Agency (l), talks about NATO’s enduring quest for cyber solutions and effective means of deterring attacks during a panel discussion at NITEC 2016 cyber conference held in Tallinn, Estonia, in June.

As NATO grapples with mounting security threats—both conventional and irregular—the concerned alliance is tussling to deliver a unified strategy for information warfare and dominance in the face of increasingly sophisticated cyberspace technologies exploiting its vulnerabilities.

The enduring quest for cyber solutions and effective means of deterring attacks dominated discussions and presentations in June at the annual NITEC 2016 conference in Tallinn, Estonia.

August 1, 2016
By George I. Seffers

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is on a mission to adopt innovation in an array of areas, including technology and acquisition. Officials hammered home that point during the AFCEA Homeland Security Conference in Washington, D.C., June 21-22. Creativity feeds the maturation process, and in some ways, pits innovation against tradition.

July 27, 2016
By Sandra Jontz

Much attention has been focused on recent achievements by women who crack or break traditional glass ceilings. In its recent series on Women in STEM, SIGNAL has highlighted many of these achievements.

We’re keeping this momentum of women in power going—and next week in Georgia, AFCEA International will host its first Women in STEM panel at TechNet Augusta.

July 1, 2016
By Beverly Mowery Cooper and Sandra Jontz
Vint Cerf, touted as one of the ‘fathers of the Internet’ and now vice president and chief Internet evangelist for Google, speaks at the AFCEA International/George Mason University Critical Issues in C4I Symposium held in May.

Innovative acquisition is the oxymoron that should drive needed change in government buying circles. Value and relevance to meet critical needs drives innovation and the ambition to be out in front of the threat, not behind it. But innovation also demands risk, and to gain ground, experts must tweak the notoriously risk-adverse government’s acquisition process that plays a central role in making technological progress possible. A key issue is where the right amount of risk can intersect with the rewards of innovation.

June 1, 2016
By Robert K. Ackerman

The rapidly changing nature of cyberspace is driving government and industry further into each other’s arms, but even that newfound relationship may not be sufficient to ensure U.S. force supremacy and protect the nation’s critical infrastructure from attack. Both sides must retool their approaches to doing business with each other if the military is to achieve its aims.

May 1, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
Lt. Gen. James Holmes, USAF, deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and requirements for the Air Force, talks about the rise of Russian and Chinese military and technological advancements that threaten U.S. superiority in both air and cyberspace during AFCEA’s TechNet Air symposium in San Antonio.

In time, the capacity and capability of the U.S. Air Force’s cyber mission force will evolve to the point where the service might delay, disrupt and even destroy adversaries’ systems through non-kinetic means. But that day has not quite arrived, said Maj. Gen. Scott Vander Hamm, USAF, assistant deputy chief of staff for operations for the U.S. Air Force.

April 1, 2016
By Robert K. Ackerman
Adm. James G. Stavridis, USN (Ret.), dean of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and former NATO supreme allied commander Europe (r), hosts a luncheon town hall with (2nd from r-l) Gen. Robert B. Neller, USMC, commandant, U.S. Marine Corps; Adm. Richardson; and Vice Adm. Charles D. Michel, USCG, vice commandant, U.S. Coast Guard.

Possible foes are advancing in capability at the same time that the U.S. Navy, facing shrinking resources, needs to increase its reach. The disturbing trend for the sea services is that they are losing their technological edge just when they are being asked to do more with less. This harsh reality has the Navy and the Marine Corps looking to innovation to help them restore their advantage against increasingly diverse and deadly threats.

March 1, 2016
By Jürgen K.G. Rosenthal
Discussing key issues at the conference are (l-r) Dr.-Ing Karsten Schulz, Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation (IOSB); Dr. Jürgen Geisler, Fraunhofer IOSB; Michael Mundt, Geosecure Informatik GmbH; and Stefan Hefter, IBM Deutschland. Photography by Jürgen K.G. Rosenthal

Urbanization, migration and disaster relief are topics that are ubiquitous in the 21st-century news media. Frequently, critical or crisis-related aspects are in the foreground. These include megacities out of control, migration flows triggered by economic and violent conflicts, and inadequate or delayed disaster relief.

However, most crises in the context of conurbations, migration and environmental disasters are not short-term developments, but evolve over the long or medium term. Governments and nongovernmental organizations must deal with these phenomena promptly and permanently, address them publicly and face up to the challenges resulting from them.