Many of the world's top telecommunications firms, consultants and government information technology teams converged on the Hyatt Regency Guam this week for the Armed Forces Communication Electronics Association Marianas Chapter Guam's TechNet 2013. AFCEA, as they are commonly known as, is an International organization that is dedicated to increasing knowledge through the exploration of issues relevant to its members in information technology, communications and electronics for the defense, homeland security, and intelligence communities.
In talking to some of the participants who frequent the AFCEA events around the region were bullish on this year's Guam event for a number of reasons. First, the federal budget problems have challenged U.S. government folks from attending these events nowadays-in fact we learned that the Korea event was cancelled in response to budget concerns and a potential low turnout. Second, the timing is appropriate considering the refocus of efforts on Guam and attention because of recent posturing in the region. And finally, the weather is perfect! Partly cloudy skies and 88 degree temperatures are in the forecast for the AFCEA Marianas Golf Tournament to wrap up the activities.
The keynote speaker, Admiral David Simpson of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), was a riveting orator who's enthusiasm for technologies for our war fighters was evident throughout his talk. As Vice Director of DISA, he is charged with ensuring the DOD is able to not only communicate between the respective command headquarters and the battlefield, but to ensure the safety and integrity of America's defense and homeland security IT networks. His engagement and knowledge allowed participants a glimpse into the future of tech by the DOD and how they are planning to get there in these austere times.
Gov Guam was in force to talk tech and the impacts to efforts to the "Green Guam" initiative. While the talk was timely, there are remaining questions on how they will finance their plans as a social agenda is driving the administration currently. Technology and social programs can be addressed simultaneously, but need a focused and realistic effort to fund such priorities at a time when the world is drawn so much closer to our island via the world wide web and advances in technology in every sector.
As a community, the AFCEA Marianas Chapter Guam is a small group. They have great advocates locally. We should take time to learn more about there efforts and appreciate their contribution to the economy-a sizable chunk of the nearly $2 Billion in 2010 as part of the greater federal defense spend for Guam. Their policy reach is as wide and are going to be key in our island's efforts to keep pace with a rapidly growing industry in America and the rest of the world.
We should keep an eye on these folks and support their efforts to further protect our homeland and the greater American family.