AFCEA International Chapter News
LONDON CHAPTER CHAPTER - Jun 19, 2019

Chapter Marks its 65th Anniversary

The chapter is one of the oldest of AFCEA International-founded in February, 1954. In June, the chapter marked its 65th Anniversary at the Annual Cyber Dinner in the Founders' Dining Hall at Royal Holloway University of London, when it hosted many of the past chapter presidents and longtime "friends of the chapter" as VIP guests. AFCEA's first chapters in Europe were founded by U.S. forces associated with NATO, Combined and U.S. Headquarters in Paris in 1952 and London in 1954. During the late 1970s/early 1980s, the ability to sustain the commitment of senior U.S. officers to the chapter against a background of a reducing number of U.S. bases in Europe had become difficult, and so the chapter languished for a period of time. Concurrently, in the UK, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) were being forced to focus on a procurement policy which had discarded "cost plus" contracting in favor of "fixed price" and a focus on empowerment for local budget holders. They also required a coordinated tri-service approach to future procurement, seeking the commercial benefit of scale, together with interoperability in the context of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) technology. It was against this background that in 1985, Air Commodore David Harrington (Ret.) picked up the pieces of an ailing chapter and became its first non-American chapter president. He recognized the contribution that a UK-based AFCEA organization could make in facilitating the need of the Central Staffs and MOD to communicate to the wider industrial audience its strategy, technology requirements and associated procurement programs. The necessity to capture the interest and imagination of industry was paramount, as it was important that the technical risk for all future programs should be placed on the contractors. Thus, the concept of a tri-service command and information systems (CIS) briefing was born in 1986. Invitations were sent to selected chief executives of many IT, electronics and telecommunications manufacturing organizations that had never before contemplated doing business with the MOD. The 1987 briefings were a great success. The second briefing in 1988 attracted a far larger audience. The AFCEA London Chapter thus became a conduit for the MOD Central Staffs briefing to industry, and it was agreed that greater value would be achieved by establishing a biennial event. Over the years, "briefings" to industry became full-blown conferences with subject matter expert speakers drawn from across UK defense, government, industry and academia. In 2016, a cybersecurity event was injected into the two-year cycle and the chapter now runs an annual event-a Cyber Conference and a CIS Conference, year and year out. The Annual Cyber Dinner (black tie) has become a "must attend" event on many corporate calendars. The chapter runs a program of regular monthly meetings, with invited speakers and informal networking opportunities and ad hoc events. Our enthusiastic Young AFCEA subcommittee organizes a variety of events and meetings throughout the year, specifically aimed at attracting young trainees/apprentices from across defense, industry and academia.

Event Photographs:

Some of the chapter's past presidents and past UK regional vice presidents paused for a photo with Air Commodore David Harrington, RAF (Ret.) (front right), at the June event.
Some of the chapter's past presidents and past UK regional vice presidents paused for a photo with Air Commodore David Harrington, RAF (Ret.) (front right), at the June event.
The chapter's VIP guests, pose for a photo with Maj. Gen. Erich Staudacher, GEAF (Ret.), general manager, AFCEA Europe, at the June celebration.
The chapter's VIP guests, pose for a photo with Maj. Gen. Erich Staudacher, GEAF (Ret.), general manager, AFCEA Europe, at the June celebration.
Most of the current chapter committee poses for a photo at the Annual Cyber Dinner in June.
Most of the current chapter committee poses for a photo at the Annual Cyber Dinner in June.

For more details regarding this event contact:
Chris Yorke
+44 (0)208 577 8519

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