AFCEA Europe coordinates European affairs with AFCEA Headquarters, helping to tailor the global AFCEA offering to the specific national and cultural environments across Europe. Often this can involve helping to shape core AFCEA activities to meet international needs. The office can assist non-European industry in making contacts within Europe by using the established chapter network. The office also answers European queries about AFCEA and its administration.
The European component of AFCEA has 3,531 members (243 corporates) belonging to 42 Chapters in 21 different countries, conversing in 19 different languages.
Several large events are run by the European office each year, and these events feature international venues that encourage chapter participation as well as attract an audience from across Europe and the United States. The TechNet series of events ensures regular contact with NATO by inviting civilian and military speakers from the Headquarters staff, Strategic Commanders staffs and supporting agencies to attend.
The European AFCEA office has a permanent staff who works directly with the European chapters to achieve the AFCEA global mission and provide chapter support. A chapter hosting an event can receive advertising, registration and event support from the office; however, a fee might apply depending on the level of service needed. The office also provides guidance on chapter best practices.
AFCEA Europe also runs professional development courses and offers scholarships and awards.
AFCEA International has existed since 1946, and the European office opened in 1981. AFCEA's first chapters in Europe were founded by U.S. forces associated with NATO Combined and U.S. Headquarters in Paris in 1952, London in 1954, Naples in 1961, Belgium in 1968, Stuttgart in 1973, Kaiserslautern in 1976 and Worms in 1977.
U.S. corporate interest from Rockwell in the late 1970s led to the establishment in 1981 of the Brussels Symposia, which had begun as a chapter activity in 1979. This event expanded to become an exhibition primarily serving NATO C3 infrastructure improvements. The creation of an office in Brussels followed in 1982.
In that year, Vice Adm. Dr. Jon Boyes, USN, then President of AFCEA, wrote:
"The rationale for the [European] office was that it should become an international office dedicated to the interests of Europeans and European corporations in AFCEA, while at the same time provide access for non-European interests in Europe."
AFCEA Europe is an essential component of AFCEA International with strong links to every staff member in the Fairfax Headquarters.