AFCEA 75th Anniversary

September 1, 2021

The September issue of SIGNAL Magazine commemorates AFCEA International’s 75th anniversary, with highlights of the association’s 75 years and a look at how it serves its members today.

The special issue features AFCEA’s history, with a story on how the organization began as a resource as the United States emerged from World War II and how it has grown over the years to a membership association that offers an ethical forum for government, military and industry with a number of events that offer engagement and networking opportunities.

September 1, 2021
By George Seffers and Beverly Cooper
One of the reasons AFCEA formed was to ensure that the technology partnerships that started during World War II would continue, ensuring preparedness in the future. In this historic photograph from the September 1946 issue of SIGNALS, anti-aircraft guns await movement to action in England. Read the first issue of AFCEA’s official publication at

The 75th anniversary, which AFCEA celebrates this year, is traditionally known as the diamond anniversary. As the hardest natural substance on Earth, diamonds represent strength, resolve and durability.

It is a fitting metaphor for an organization that has supported the U.S. national security and defense community since 1946, as the nation emerged, stronger than ever, from the devastation of World War II.

Seventy-five years ago, in a meeting area in the Fraunces Tavern in New York, a group of respected military and corporate leaders gathered to discuss a shared concern, one that was on the minds of many in the aftermath of war.

September 1, 2021
Competitors battle it out during the Montgomery Chapter’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive E-sports.

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.

September 1, 2021
By Robert K. Ackerman

We live in an age defined by technology, and the dominant technology today is digital. Nation-states, multinational corporations and even small businesses are paving the way to the future through innovation. Yet sometimes, just as necessity is the mother of invention, challenge is the parent of innovation.

September 1, 2021
By Lt. Gen. Robert M. Shea, USMC (Ret.)

AFCEA’s 75th anniversary shows that it is an enduring organization that has even greater relevance today than when it was founded. The foresight of AFCEA’s founding fathers in 1946 cannot be overestimated, as the conditions that spurred them to create the association have continued throughout the many years that have passed in the intervening decades.

September 1, 2021
By Lt. Gen. Bill Bender, USAF (Ret.)

It is with sincere gratitude and a sense of excitement I begin my term as AFCEA International’s chairman of the board. I am looking forward to what I know will be many rewarding professional and personal experiences as chairman, and I can’t thank AFCEA’s nomination committee enough for the trust they’ve placed in me to serve in this capacity. Even more exciting, I have the good fortune of assuming the chairman role at a time of tremendous importance and opportunity for our organization. Look no further than through the pages of this 75th Anniversary issue of SIGNAL Magazine to see what I mean.

August 23, 2021
By Julianne Simpson

With the recent emergence of zero-trust architecture and the pivot to work from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic, cybersecurity has been top-of-mind for everyone in government and industry. Cyberspace must be protected; it must be kept open to all; and it must be able to address change as it occurs.

Enter AFCEA’s Cyber Committee, a volunteer group of public and private sector information technology professionals that oversees AFCEA's outreach and helps ensure open lines of communication between the government and industry.

August 19, 2021
By Julianne Simpson

Homeland security success depends on preparing for the unexpected, preventing the unthinkable and recovering from the unimaginable. AFCEA’s Homeland Security Committee brings together the people in charge of ensuring the success of homeland and global security missions.

August 26, 2021

Editor’s Note: As AFCEA looks back on its long history, one of the pivotal decisions was to expand its reach more globally, which included formation of international chapters, creation of events in a variety of countries and establishment of an office in Brussels, Belgium, which would facilitate and grow European operations. Lt. Gen Pietro Finoccho, ITAF (Ret.), longtime president of the Rome chapter, provides details regarding his longtime involvement with AFCEA and helping to grow the Rome chapter.

July 29, 2021
By Julianne Simpson

A crucial part of any association’s success is its young members. The future is much more certain when there is a steady stream of bright young professionals who will continue on the mission of the association.

At AFCEA, the Emerging Professionals in the Intelligence Community Committee is tasked with just that, among other efforts. Also known as EPIC, the committee is headed by Mark Kandra.

July 27, 2021
By Julianne Simpson

Both classified and unclassified symposiums build the bridge between industry and the intelligence community.

AFCEA’s Intelligence Committee is a group of intelligence community (IC) vets and leaders from military and industry, including small businesses and start-ups, with the goal of helping the IC build a better bridge between industry and government.

“We want candidates who work hard and want to build that bridge, but we also want to make sure they have the contacts to do that,” says Lt. Gen. Bob Noonan Jr., USA (Ret.), the chair of the Intelligence Committee.

July 20, 2021
By Julianne Simpson

Technology is evolving at an incredibly rapid pace. IT professionals today, whether in government or industry, must stay current with new technology trends and skills to secure the jobs of tomorrow. And given the speed of change and progress, IT professionals must constantly be learning, unlearning and relearning technologies to remain relevant. Having a support system with like-minded technologists and the opportunity to network with a diverse group of government, industry, academic and scientific experts can help immensely. That’s where AFCEA’s Technology Committee comes in.

July 1, 2021
By Julianne Simpson

Small businesses make up more than 99 percent of companies in the United States, but because of their size and scale, many have constraints not experienced by most larger organizations. With a small business, the margin for error is small, so they have to be extremely flexible, lean and thrifty with every resource. While their larger counterparts typically have access to a multitude of business development professionals, small businesses are limited in the time they can invest in identifying personnel, building a network, developing relationships and finding partners.

July 1, 2021
By Loren Diedrichsen

Editor’s Note: As AFCEA looks back on its long history, one of the pivotal decisions was to expand its reach more globally, which included formation of international chapters, creation of events in a variety of countries and establishment of an office in Brussels, Belgium, which would facilitate and grow European operations. Loren Diedrichsen had long seen the value of AFCEA in his work at Fort Monmouth and had been actively involved in that chapter. Upon accepting a post in Brussels, he combined his understanding of the AFCEA organization, his connections within NATO, and his knowledge of the technical community into a focus that would help AFCEA grow its European operations.

June 23, 2021
By Julianne Simpson

For the past 75 years, AFCEA has leveraged both traditional and contemporary approaches to adapt to evolving challenges, new technologies and an increasingly mobile membership. With a worldwide constituency, organized into a variety of regions and chapters, the association continues to evaluate itself and apply flexibility as well as innovation in its offerings and support.

Bill Robinson, chair of AFCEA’s Membership Committee, says the association cannot be the same one that was formed 75 years ago. “We have to build the foundation for the 80th or 100th anniversary, now,” he states.