Looking Forward to AFCEA’s WEST 2013 in San Diego

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In the last two years, I’ve been to my share of IT tradeshows and conferences. Las Vegas. San Francisco. Dallas. DC. San Diego. Of all the cities I’ve traveled to for work, I enjoyed San Diego the most, so the fact that my next conference is AFCEA’s West 13 in the San Diego Convention Center is a great way to start off my 2013 business travels.

While it won’t be as large as Cisco Live!, and not as action-packed as VMworld, I am definitely psyched about my first government/federal event. I keep waiting for the announcement from the US Naval Institute that they’ve booked a local band from San Diego’s rich rock pedigree to headline their after-show event such as Blink-182, Stone Temple Pilots, or every headbanger’s favorite, Ratt. But I’m starting to think that’s not going to happen.

I’m not sure if it’s the residual effects of recently watching Battleship on DVD from Redbox, but the speaker list at AFCEA WEST 2013 is like a who’s who of the top US brass, and I can’t wait.

First thing Tuesday morning, AFCEA’s WEST 2013 kicks off with the Morning Keynote Address of James Alexander Winnefeld. He’s the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the second highest-ranking officer in the United States Armed Forces, second only to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He also happens to be a four-star admiral of the United States Navy. He was in charge of USNORTHCOM (U.S. Northern Command) as well as NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command). Military-geeks are definitely going to be up early for this keynote.

The WEST 2013 week is packed full of sessions with government folks from all over the country. The six panel sessions are what you would expect at a military show – The Budget Clock Is Ticking: What Does It Mean?, The Fiscal Cliff: How Do You Make It Add Up?, Innovation: How Do We Get It In A Military Bureaucracy? Best of the Best: What Will It Take To Keep Them?, and the intriguing Chinese Navy: Operational Challenge or Potential Partner? Good thing I won’t need security clearance for that last one.

One panel session in particular called Cyber Security: How Do We Balance the Cost with the Risk? made my itinerary. Robert Carey, the Department of Defense’s Deputy Chief Information Officer, is on that Wednesday afternoon panel along with Herbert A. Browne, retired Deputy Commander of the U.S. Space Command. It’s a major bonus that this session, along with a ton of others, equal continuing education units (CEUs) for A+, Network +, Security+, or CASP certification holders. That’s pretty sweet.

A special town hall session/luncheon Pivot to the Pacific: What are the Practical and Global Implications? will address the new defense strategy from the country’s three Sea Service Chiefs, including the Marines’ General James F. Amos, the Navy’s Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert, and the US Coast Guard’s Robert J. Papp Jr. That’s an impressive lineup if you ask me.

In addition to awesome keynotes and panel discussions, WEST 2013 will feature Thursday morning’s must-see Team Cyber Fireside Chat with Lt. General Jon M. Davis, USMC, the Deputy Commander of the U.S. Cyber Command, as well as DOD CIO Robert Carey, again pulling double duty during the week. He’s got some great insight to share apparently.

I do too. If you want to follow our updates on Twitter throughout the week at WEST 2013, I’ll be sharing them officially from @GKonGovt and semi-officially from @GKJohnMarkIvey. I’ll also most likely post an after-the-show blog post to let you know how the week went.

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