Diana Gowen, a legend in the government telecommunications industry and an active member of the AFCEA Budget and Finance Committee, passed away May 28 after a long battle with cancer.
Recently, I had the privilege of attending a ceremony and presenting an award to a local high school Junior Reserve Office Training Corps (JROTC) cadet on behalf of another organization for this cadet’s superior performance and leadership. Looking around the stage, I noticed representatives from multiple organizations all eager to recognize the efforts of these amazing young leaders with their respective groups’ awards.
Wayne Morgan Gramling, a founder of the ArkLaTex Chapter, succumbed to COVID-19 on April 19 at the age of 88.
As people around the world practice self-isolation in an effort to reduce exposure and spreading of the COVID-19 virus, the need to maintain a strong cybersecurity posture arguably has never been higher. Millions of people have shifted their daily lives to an environment relying on telework, distance learning, Internet-enabled social engagement, streaming news and entertainment and other activities.
This “new normal” is facilitated by the robust capabilities of the Internet. Yet it presents a significant cyber risk. During the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve seen bad actors stepping up their game with increased incidents of phishing, disinformation, watering hole attacks and other criminal activity.
Chief Master Sgt. Tom Gwaltney, USAF (Ret.), former AFCEA Mid-South regional vice president, passed away on March 15, 2020.
Chief Gwaltney committed his life to improving the mission and goals of AFCEA International during his more than 30 years of service to the association. He served as Mid-South regional vice president for 14 years, where he advised 67 new presidents.
He also served as the Montgomery Chapter president for three years and chapter education foundation director for 14 years. Chief Gwaltney was recognized in 2018 with the Admiral Jon L. Boyes Medal for Distinguished Service to AFCEA, which is awarded to a select few for their career service to the association.
At conference halls throughout the year, groups of students work intensely to complete digital challenges in cyberspace, vying to win so-called Capture the Flag Contests, such as several hosted by Deloitte. The company sponsors several such educational cybersecurity competitions, including recently at AFCEA Alamo ACE in San Antonio and in Colorado Springs at the AFCEA Rocky Mountain Cyberspace Symposium.
The U.S. military relies heavily on companies to research, develop and manufacture innovative technologies to support missions. This hasn’t always been the case. A century ago, it was often the armed services that conceived and created the latest solutions. But when the world goes to war, it’s all hands on deck.
With unlimited resources, delving into fantastical technical solutions is easy. However, in the real world, the government and the private sector must solve real-life problems with realistic budgets. And today, both funds and available expertise are at a premium. Consequently, agencies must rely on companies they trust, and corporations only thrive when they invest in solutions likely to flourish in the future.
Five cyber technology firms will vie for top honors as a six-month series of Innovation Showcase competitions reaches its climax on February 27 in Arlington, Virginia. These efforts are part of an ongoing attempt by AFCEA to apply the principle of the popular venture capital television show to bring new technologies to the attention of government organizations seeking vital solutions. Following the cyber technology Innovation Showcase, AFCEA will host another Innovation Showcase at its Small Business Innovation Summit on May 1.
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.
The Defense Department is pursuing an aggressive software development program, called the DOD Enterprise DevSecOps Initiative. The effort is focused on bringing automated software tools, services and standards to DOD programs so that warfighters can create, deploy and operate software applications in a secure, flexible and interoperable manner, explained Nicolas Chaillan, chief software officer, U.S. Air Force, co-lead of the DOD Enterprise DevSecOps Initiative. The program is a joint effort of the DOD’s Chief Information Officer, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment and the services, he said.
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.
Senior executives are increasingly interested in objective measurements to determine the robustness of their organizations’ cybersecurity protections. However, measuring the adequacy of network and data security can be likened to verifying the amount of air in a room: A formula can ascertain how much air the room contains in theory, but does it take into account the leaky windows?
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.
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.
To maintain its strategic position in the world, succeed on future battlefields and protect the homeland, the Department of Defense must increase the adoption of artificial intelligence, according to the department’s newly released Artificial Intelligence Strategy.
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.
A small business providing advanced data security is the third and final firm selected in an AFCEA Small Business Innovation Shark Tank competition to uncover innovative emerging technologies. The company, Avocado of San Jose, California, won against six other firms with its distributed and deterministic layer-7 application security platform.
A company designing networked drones for disaster relief is the first small business selected in an AFCEA Small Business Innovation Shark Tank competition to uncover innovative emerging technologies. The company, LTAid of Vancouver, Washington, is building unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that can serve emergency responders as well as warfighters in theater.
“The demand for logistics outstrips the ability of logistics,” said LTAid’s Chris Thobaben during the competition. “We look to revolutionize a small piece of the supply chain, but it’s the most critical piece.”