AFCEA was saddened to learn of the passing of R. Norris Keeler, SIGNAL Magazine’s technical advisor. Keeler had a long and distinguished career serving the national security community that included service in the U.S. Navy as a captain and heading the physics department at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
For U.S. military veterans fighting post-traumatic stress disorder or other combat related injuries, the holidays can be a difficult time, especially in an environment already complicated by the global pandemic. In particular, for U.S. Army MSG Pavel “Pasha” Palanker, a 17-year combat veteran, Purple Heart and Army Commendation Medal with “V” device for Valor recipient, the times have proven to be quite challenging.
The U.S. Air Force is on track to provisionally stand up its first and only Spectrum Warfare Wing (SWW)— known as the 350th SWW—this spring. The organization will be responsible for electronic warfare and so-called electromagnetic spectrum missionware. The 350th SWW’s role will run the gamut of providing such capabilities along the development, hosting, integration, testing and distribution phases, reported Lt. Gen. Chris Weggeman, USAF, deputy commander, Air Combat Command (ACC).
The essential qualities of a good leader include integrity, accountability, humility, vision and positivity, and AFCEA is an excellent environment to grow leadership skills, according to Tamara Greenspan, this year’s winner of The General James M. Rockwell AFCEAN of the Year. “The world is always changing, and a strong leader needs to be able to adapt to changes in the environment and workforce and consistently look to improve, adjust and innovate,” she suggests.
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.”
The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is increasing the warfighter’s ability to operate in the complex spectrum environment by providing operational support through electromagnetic battlespace planning, radio frequency deconfliction and joint spectrum interference resolution. DISA’s Defense Spectrum Organization (DSO) ensures the agency and the DOD maintain information dominance through effective electromagnetic spectrum operations.
The generation that remembers “duck and cover” also recalls headlines that included the words Soviet Union and impending dangers. Today, a combination of global instability, rising authoritarianism and democracies in retreat may lead to similar yet more dangerous situations, and this time, the headlines also are likely to include the words “People's Republic of China.”
The U.S. Army is overhauling its relationship with technology providers to incorporate a new class of capabilities that will enable survivable, protected, intuitive, standards-based, interoperable, sustainable and, above all, highly mobile networks. To obtain these types of technologies, the service plans to assume a position where it is articulating its intent, a process that’s being described as “adapt and buy.”
Many cybersecurity methods and products are available to protect wireless networks from intrusion, but security concerns go well beyond the risks to Wi-Fi. The combination of legacy wireless systems and Internet of Things vulnerabilities number in the hundreds, and all radio frequency protocols are at risk.
The billions of bits and bytes that make government services, information sharing and even shopping easier also open the doors for adversaries to gather intelligence that aids their nefarious pursuits. AFCEA International’s Cyber Committee has published a white paper that describes several ways big data analytics can help cybersecurity analysts close those doors or at least shrink the gap and reduce vulnerabilities.
I was a junior in high school when I was invited to the house of my best friend, Adam, on the New Jersey shore. This was way before the garish reality TV show of the same name, but in much of the same way, my expectations were objectively excessive and shallow at their core. Who could blame me? Most of the town knew exactly who my friend’s father was. Mike was a vivacious and extremely rich man. We once calculated his estimated yearly income and compared it against Forbes magazine’s reported earnings for American singer, dancer and actress Britney Spears. Mike "won."
As industry and government work to hammer out complex details in the cyberthreat intelligence struggle, each side expects support from the other—but both must improve the foundational understanding of the capabilities each brings to the table. Many of these issues will define the agenda of AFCEA’s Classified Cyber Forum, to be held July 13 at the Heritage Conference Center in Chantilly, Virginia.
If they play their cards right, conference attendees can get much more out of attending an event than just listening to the who’s who of this career field or that. At this year’s Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium, or DCOS, open ears can also lead to open opportunities. Not only do attendees get the chance to listen to experts, they can enhance careers by receiving continuing education units.
Currently, 21 continuing education sessions will be offered during the three-day symposium, hosted by AFCEA International. It takes place June 13-15 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore.
The AFCEA Cyber Committee, which is made up of more than 40 experts in the field, has released a white paper identifying key concerns in the cyber realm and offering recommendations for the incoming administration.
The report, Key Cyber Issues and Recommendations: A Way Forward, identifies three needs in the cyber arena. The first is that the United States must approach cyber in a strategic and international context that incorporates diplomatic, information, military and economic elements of national power.
Better cooperation and enhanced information sharing between the government and industry will go a long way toward safeguarding digital networks and building up the work force needed to protect the information infrastructure. These are some of the recommendations offered by the nonpartisan Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity in its much-anticipated report released this month.
Efforts to increasingly digitize networks that run the nation’s critical infrastructure enterprises also are boosting attack surfaces and vulnerabilities in an enduring cybersecurity contest in which hackers target those weaknesses with an elevated furor, experts admonished during a panel discussion on the issue.
The next 17 days leading up to the presidential election pose a rather vulnerable time for the United States—more so than usual during a transition of power, says Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
“This year, for lots of reasons, people are nervous, particularly for an election cycle that has been sportier than normal,” Clapper shared during at presentation Thursday at AFCEA’s Emerging Professionals in Intelligence Committee (EPIC) speaker series.
The After Active Duty blog series examines the challenges, rewards and lessons learned for those who have transitioned from active duty to the private sector and the role AFCEA played in this progression.
Former Navy lieutenant Ryan Cox is a non-techie who thrives in a technical world. His secret to success: connecting wherever he goes.
The third annual Intelligence and National Security Summit (INSS) kicks off tomorrow in Washington, D.C., a premier gathering of senior decision makers from government, military, industry and academia who will tackle some of the most difficult intelligence quandaries baffling world leaders.
The After Active Duty blog series examines the challenges, rewards and lessons learned for those who have transitioned from active duty to the private sector and the role AFCEA played in this progression.
Master Gunnery Sgt. Arthur Allen III, USMC (Ret.), left active duty this past summer after a 31-year career that included deployments to Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan. He does not yet know what his next professional position will be, but he knows his life after active duty will include volunteer work.
AFCEA TechNet Augusta 2016
The SIGNAL Magazine Online Show Daily, Day 1
Quote of the Day:
“What we’ve observed them do is employ the full-range of information warfare capabilities to effectively find and fix their opponents. And then they finish them with long-range fires and combined arms maneuvers.” —Maj. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, commander, U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence
AFCEA International presents its next three-session contracting series, Growing Your Business in the Federal Contracting Arena, kicking off the courses with former chief operating officer and author David Kriegman, who will share his expertise and experiences in growing a small business into a billion dollar corporation.
Gen. George C. Marshall, Army chief of staff during World War II, was no stranger to the Hotel Del Monte in Monterey, California. In 1917, he organized and led training there for 1,200 officers. Education has been a part of life at this famous resort since it opened on June 10, 1880. It has hosted a Navy preflight school and became home to the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) in 1951.
Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium 2015
The SIGNAL Magazine Online Show Daily
Quote of the Day: “I absolutely love these conferences. It’s like vendor speed dating.”
—David Stickley, services executive, Defense Information Systems Agency.
On the final day of the AFCEA Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium in Baltimore, Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) officials wooed industry, stressing the need for cooperation and partnership to tackle the toughest problems faced by today’s warfighters.
AFCEA presented awards to three individuals for innovative cyber technology solutions during a ceremony at the AFCEA International Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium in Baltimore. The winners were selected from 50 entries in AFCEA's Cyber Solutions Showcase.
The winners and the representatives receiving the awards on behalf of the companies are:
Cloud Based Real-Time Cyber Monitoring
AFCEA members and SIGNAL subscribers now can access the Source Book on the go. The app provides mobile access to the directory, which includes names, locations, contact information and descriptions for more than 2,000 AFCEA corporate members.
Search capabilities and linked email and Web addresses enable users to tap into their association resources quickly right from smartphones and tablets. The app also includes descriptions and contact information about the worldwide AFCEA chapter system.
Here are some additional highlights from the AFCEA NOVA Chapter's 10th Annual Naval IT Day, held at the Sheraton Premiere Hotel in Tysons Corner, Va., last Thursday.
"Get it done quickly" is the mantra of Chris Miller, Executive Director of the Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command Center, Atlantic (SPAWAR), which is also referred to as the Navy's Information Dominance Systems Command. While SPAWAR's Pacific office handles research and development, Miller's group, based in Charleston, N.C. is responsible for acquisitions and getting technology on board ships and into the hands of warfighters.
Tuesday's afternoon keynote speaker highlighted the importance of accepting technological change across the U.S. government. David Wennergren, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Information Management and Technology and Defense Department Chief Information Officer, shared his ideas for improving technology processes throughout the federal space. He began his speech by stressing the need for information sharing across federal agencies, noting that in 2005 the human race created 150 exabytes of data and that by 2010 this had increased to 1,200 exabytes. Chief information officers and managers will have to manage a constantly increasing sea of data. "Data has to be sexy for you," he quipped.
CIOs from the top DHS three-lettered agencies described their challenges, priorities, the price of success, the key to success and the future at the opening panel session at AFCEA's Homeland Security Conference today. Jim Flyzik, who has worked on this conference since its inception in 2003, asked tough questions of four of the department's key organizations, and these professionals came back with insightful answers for industry.
AFCEA Intelligence and the Naval Intelligence Professionals/Naval Intelligence Foundation (NIP/NIF) have joined forces to sponsor two annual writing contests.
The contests provide intelligence professionals with opportunities to express themselves on topics of importance to the Intelligence Community and national security.
In the AFCEA 2009 Essay Contest, on "Safety, Security, and Privacy, respondents are asked to address the following problem statement: