The Spirit of Innovation Is Central to AFCEA’s Heritage
Time defines why membership matters.
Membership in AFCEA thrives through a progression of ideas and innovation, with the association’s innovative roots tracing back to the Civil War where wigwag flags modernized communications. Then-Maj. Albert James Myer, USA, who developed the wigwag system is known as the father of both the U.S. Army Signal Corps and the U.S. Weather Bureau—and, in a way, of AFCEA too.
After the Civil War, Signal Corps members formed the U.S. Veterans Signal Association, which later merged with the American Signal Corps Association. From those organizations came a new organization, the Army Signal Association, in 1946. That merger was the official beginning of what is now AFCEA. In recognition of the unification of the services, the Army Signal Association changed its name to become the Armed Forces Communications Association. As technology advanced, the association responded by adding “Electronics” to its name in 1954. In 2018, the association shortened its name to AFCEA International. While the armed forces remain a central component of AFCEA, and communications and electronics are foundational disciplines, technology has expanded exponentially, and constituent demographics have as well. The use of the acronym as the name increases the association’s flexibility to address advancing technology capabilities and associated changes in military, government, industry and academia that result. For more history of AFCEA, visit www.afcea.org/site/History.
Throughout 75 years, AFCEA has supported a membership composed of military, government, industry and academic organizations and individuals worldwide. With a long and historic heritage built by members, membership is what defines the association.
Chapters are the heart and soul of AFCEA. From the first chapter, the New York Founders Chapter, to the newest U.S. chapter, the Indiana Chapter, and newest international chapter, the Ecuador Chapter, AFCEA has its foundation at the local level, made possible by volunteers. Members can choose chapters by location, business activities and interests.
Highlights include a variety of local events and conferences, industry days, fundraising contributions toward STEM scholarships and grants and student chapters. Chapters engage in the local community through Wounded Warriors programs, Capture the Flag contests, hackathons, and robotics and STEM Clubs.
AFCEA brings small, medium and large companies together to network, partner and grow their business to meet the demands of the ever-changing global security market. Corporate membership helps companies increase their brand awareness and extend their footprint in the federal space.
Highlights include an online corporate directory, small business program, sharing business accomplishments in the corporate member news, affinity partners and a career center allowing members to connect to job opportunities within the AFCEA network.
Through its worldwide network of chapters, AFCEA members are part of an extensive network of military, government civilian, industry and academic professionals in the fields of cyber, IT, communications and intelligence. AFCEA offers IT professionals opportunities to grow their individual brand and awareness through conferences, symposiums, expositions, networking activities and AFCEA’s award-winning SIGNAL Media.
Highlights include opportunities to volunteer, mentor and lead at the international, regional and local levels. Separate robust community networks exist for AFCEA Emerging Leaders aged 40 or under and for Women in AFCEA. Thought leadership opportunities exist via many committees including Cyber, Homeland Security, Intelligence, Small Business and Technology.
To help keep the workforce relevant, AFCEA provides several professional development opportunities. It offers a variety of options from onsite and on-demand courses in technical areas, intelligence, leadership and management to preferred provider academic programs leading to degrees and to certificates. Members qualify for formal attendance documentation for many AFCEA International and chapter continuing educating sessions.