January 1, 2020
By DeEtte Gray, AFCEA Chairwoman of the Board

The future is bright for AFCEA as the association builds on its recent successes. And those successes are many.

Last year saw AFCEA running on all cylinders. Membership has grown, both in corporate and individual numbers. Corporate membership has reached a five-year high of nearly 1,700, despite mergers and acquisitions. Individual membership hit a three-year high of more than 32,000 people. Among these members is a greater number of women and minorities, and this stems directly from outreach by the association. The result has been increased representation of women and minorities among boards and committees. The Women in AFCEA group in particular has been successful and continues to grow in influence and activity.

January 1, 2020
AFCEA Educational Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to providing educational incentives, opportunities and assistance for people engaged in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.

From 5K Fun Runs, golf tournaments and cycling events, to luncheons and galas, AFCEA members came together with enthusiasm in 2019 in support of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. For example, the Lexington-Concord Chapter hosted a 5K Family Fun Run for STEM, and the Dayton-Wright Chapter hosted a golf tournament to benefit its scholarship funds. In addition, the San Diego Chapter held its Fifth Annual Cycle for STEM ride, and the Los Angeles Chapter introduced its inaugural Cycling for STEM ride to fund local scholarships.

November 1, 2019
Undergraduate STEM Diversity Scholarship winner Lara Quiring receives her certificate from Col. Sean Murphy, USAF, chapter president, at the Greater Omaha Chapter luncheon in August.

AFCEA International has awarded more than $70,000 in the form of 25 scholarships for the 2019-2020 academic year to both undergraduate and graduate students nationwide.

“I am incredibly grateful to have been chosen,” says Francesca Falzon, who is pursuing her doctoral degree in computer science. “Having my current research on encrypted databases and my involvement in the computer science community recognized as a valuable contribution to the mission of AFCEA is a great motivator.”

October 1, 2019

The landscape of information technology, communications and cybersecurity continues to change at an increasingly rapid pace. AFCEA recognizes this and is committed to helping our members maintain and grow their knowledge and expertise. AFCEA’s Preferred Provider program allows our members access to academic institutions that are DHS/NSA designated Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense or a cybersecurity certifying agency to continue their professional development. Our current Preferred Providers include American Public University System (APUS), Saint Leo University and SANS Institute. These institutions offer undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as certificates in areas of study that are of interest to AFCEA members.

January 1, 2019
By Julianne Simpson

In a first-of-its-kind move, new sustaining AFCEA corporate member Abacus Technology is offering its employees associate AFCEA memberships as an employee benefit. So far, the company has signed up 300 employees.

“I wish we had done it sooner because we really have gotten a lot of positive feedback,” says Alice Solomon, a vice president of Abacus. “When we were trying to come up with approaches for tightening up our community, it just seemed like a logical thing to do,” she adds.

July 1, 2019
Accepting the Trendsetter Award on behalf of Chenega MIOS is Heather Lacroix (c), a member of AFCEA’s Small Business Committee and president of Chenega Technical Innovations. The award was presented by Lt. Gen. Robert Shea, USMC (Ret.), president and CEO of AFCEA, and Tina Jordan, AFCEA’s vice president of membership, at the Homeland Security Conference. Credit: Carizza Rosales

Chenega MIOS (military, intelligence and operations support) has been awarded the AFCEA Trendsetter Award. The Trendsetter Award is a membership spot award to recognize a company who found an innovative way to leverage AFCEA that resulted in significant growth to AFCEA’s member base.

Chenega MIOS is a shared services division of Chenega Corporation. The company purchased a total of 10 corporate memberships, which prompted the AFCEA corporate membership team to create a multiple membership bundle for them. Because the company is a sustaining member who purchased nine or more memberships for wholly owned subsidiaries, the group received a 10 percent discount on all new memberships.

September 1, 2019

Every year AFCEA recognizes outstanding military students with honor and research awards, and AFCEA members travel to universities all over the country to present them in person.

August 1, 2019
Saim Bashir (2nd from right), a Marine Corps veteran studying at George Mason University, receives his AFCEA War Veterans Scholarship from (l-r) Tamara Greenspan, president, NOVA Chapter; Robin P. Swan, director, Office of Business Transformation, Office of the Secretary of the Army; and Chuck Griffith, chapter vice president of programs, NOVA chapter.

The two winners of the Fall 2018 AFCEA War Veterans Scholarship were honored at chapter luncheons this spring.

Master Sgt. Jason K. Stover, USAF, is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Trident University. He enjoys serving in the Air Force and hopes to be accepted to Air Force Officer Training School once he finishes his degree. As a new dad, juggling everything is difficult, and this scholarship will help him finish his degree sooner. “I appreciate the foundation’s work to help service members attain their educational goals.” He is currently stationed at Randolph Air Force Base and was honored by the Alamo Chapter.

August 1, 2019
By Julianne Simpson
Gas Cell Battery, 1959. Dr. Werner Von Braun, chief scientist of the U.S. Army’s missile program, inspects the gas cell battery under study at the U.S. Army Signal Corps Research and Development Laboratory. Arthur Daniel, left, explains how the battery converts hydrogen and oxygen to electrical power directly. Looking on is Leonard Rokaw, chief of technical information at the laboratory. Von Braun’s visit included a tour of the space electronics facilities. Credit: Fort Monmouth (Images of America)

To say Leonard Rokaw has witnessed the communication revolution would be an understatement. When he first joined the Signal Corps in 1942, he relied on semaphore flags and homing pigeons to communicate.

The WWII veteran is incredibly well-spoken and has a lot to say about the changes he’s witnessed in his 97 and a half years of life.

Though he only served three years in uniform, he spent his career as a civilian working at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. Home of the Signal Corps Laboratories and later the Signal Corps Center, Fort Monmouth has had its hand in every bit of communication technology we use today, says Rokaw.

June 1, 2019
Thomson Middle School’s Olympiad team in Warner Robins, Georgia, won second place in the regional competition after showcasing their skills in STEM areas such as herpetology (r) and engineering and building a boomilever (l). Their victory was made possible by a 2018 Gravely Grant.

The 2018 Gravely Grants for STEM Teachers have provided students with hands-on experiences in STEM subjects. The awards, which range from $500 to $1,000, are used by teachers to purchase classroom supplies for STEM-related activities inside and outside of the classroom. Many teachers focus on robotics and programming, such as Alisa Janiski, whose students at Roye-Williams Elementary School in Havre de Grace, Maryland, built and programmed basic robots using electronics kits.

May 1, 2019

AFCEA International and the U.S. Naval Institute have recognized 18 outstanding individuals from the U.S. Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps with their 2019 Copernicus Awards. Established in 1997, this award selects winners who show sustained superior performance in a command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I) or information technology-related job over the course of the previous fiscal year. They must also demonstrate exceptional leadership, insight and initiative.

April 3, 2019
By Julianne Simpson

Col. Tom Horton, USAF (Ret.), a member of the executive committee on AFCEA’s board of directors died on March 20 at the age of 72. He also served on the board of the Atlanta Chapter.

Col. Horton attended Georgia Tech where he was a member of the varsity football team. Upon graduating in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial management, he was commissioned a second lieutenant. He earned a Master of Science in management from Troy State University.

April 1, 2019
Col. Kathy Swacina, USA (Ret.) (c), receives the 2019 Women’s Appreciation Award from DeEtte Gray, AFCEA chairwoman of the board, and Lt. Gen. Robert Shea, USMC (Ret.), AFCEA president and CEO.

Col. Kathy Swacina, USA (Ret.), and her husband Lt. Col. Dan Swacina, USA (Ret.), have generously donated $15,000 to endow a new scholarship for female students in Georgia who are majoring in STEM.

The Col. Kathleen Swacina Scholarship will be awarded to one deserving female student each year in the amount of $1,000. The program will be open to students majoring in STEM subjects and enrolled full-time as an undergraduate at a college or university in the state of Georgia. Students may attend a community college so long as they intend to transfer to a four-year institution and complete their bachelor’s.

March 26, 2019
By Julianne Simpson
Chuck Corjay (r) and David Scarbalis (l), former chapter president, welcomed speaker Terry Halvorsen, then-Defense Department chief information officer, to the NOVA Chapter's Joint Warfighter IT Day in September 2016.

Charles (Chuck) R. Corjay, a Distinguished Life Member of AFCEA, passed away on March 17. He was 86.

Corjay joined AFCEA in 1972 and held almost every chapter officer position throughout his career at the association. For 12 years he was a regional vice president, supporting multiple chapters in the Mid-West, Mid-South and National Capital regions, and also served on the international board of directors.

A veteran of the Air Force, Corjay helped build the Northern Virginia (NOVA) Chapter from a sub-chapter of Washington DC to the largest AFCEA chapter. At its height, NOVA had more than 7,000 members.

March 14, 2019
By George I. Seffers
During a February 14 fireside chat at the West Conference, Lt. Gen. Lori Reynolds, USMC, deputy commandant for information, U.S. Marine Corps Headquarters (c), and Vice Adm. Nancy Norton, USN, director, DISA and commander of the Joint Forces Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Network (r), reflect on the challenges facing women in the military. DeEtte Gray, president of U.S. operations, CACI International and chairwoman of the AFCEA board, moderated the event. Credit: Michael Carpenter

Women face special challenges in the military and in technical careers. Those challenges are magnified for military women who are also in technical careers, but two successful military officers who have overcome those challenges have some words of support for those following in their footsteps.

March 1, 2019

Thanks to the generosity of donors and supporters, the AFCEA Educational Foundation is proud to announce it is expanding its 2019 scholarship programs. In addition to funding more awards for existing scholarships for STEM majors, STEM teachers, STEM diversity students and war veterans, a new cybersecurity scholarship for undergraduate students is now available. Applications will be accepted on a joint form together with the STEM majors and undergraduate STEM diversity scholarships.

February 12, 2019
By Maryann Lawlor
“I never thought that I would have to go to the food bank. We would always donate, because a lot of families out there don’t have the luxuries we have. I’ve been through four furloughs. This is the first time that I’ve needed to reach out for help,” says Michael Westmoreland, furloughed Coast Guard worker.

AFCEA chapters got to the heart of the matter of the recent partial government shutdown by responding to the immediate needs of federal workers and contractors with contributions to assistance organizations.

To ease the strain on resources the influx of families in need of food, the Energy and Earth Sciences Chapter donated $5,000 to the Maryland Food Bank (MFB). Its donation was matched by an individual AFCEAN.

January 7, 2019
By Julianne Simpson
AFCEA International’s Innovation Shark Tank Series offers entrepreneurs and small businesses an opportunity to get advice and input from industry experts serving as judges in the competition. Pictured are the participants and judges from AFCEA’s November 19, 2018 event. Credit: Elizabeth Moon

AFCEA International has received the 2018 Best of Small Business Award as the Best Non-Profit and ranked 16th in the Small Business Top 100. The Small Business Expo presents these awards to recognize America’s preeminent small to midsize business visionaries.

The Best Non-Profit Award honors nonprofit organizations that specialize in supporting small businesses and small business owners with workshops, business counseling and guidance. The SB100 Award recognizes the top 100 small to midsize businesses in the U.S. and celebrates their growth and accomplishments in the previous year.

January 1, 2019
By Lt. Gen. Robert M. Shea, USMC (Ret.)

The coming year will be full of activity and progress for AFCEA. The association continues moving in a positive direction, and the efforts that initiated this progress will persist.

We are not going to simply stay the course. Internal changes will be assessed, and the professional expertise inherent in our community will address many of the national and global challenges facing the United States, its allies and partner nations.

January 1, 2019
In 1996, Ben Chestnut (r), now CEO of Mailchimp, receives an AFCEA scholarship. He has started a new AFCEA scholarship in his father’s name with a $100,000 endowment to the Augusta-Ft. Gordon Chapter.

The August-Ft. Gordon Chapter is dedicated to supporting STEM students through scholarships and teacher grants. Thanks to a $100,000 endowment from the Chestnut Family Foundation, the chapter will be able to fund a new scholarship for students from the Central Savannah River Area who are majoring in STEM. Ben Chestnut, one of the trustees of the Chestnut Family Foundation and co-founder and CEO of Mailchimp, received an AFCEA Educational Foundation scholarship in 1996 to pursue his college education.