It’s hard for me to believe I will be attending my fourth AFCEA/USNI conference next week when WEST 2016 commences in the San Diego Convention Center. Each and every WEST has been enlightening as our country’s naval capabilities continue to shift from the Atlantic to the Pacific and as the federal government looks for new and innovative ways to achieve mission success.
Hosted by AFCEA International and the U.S. Naval Institute, WEST has brought military and industry leaders together for 25 years and allows them to gain valuable feedback directly from sea service warfighters. The theme of this year’s event is “How Do We Make the Strategy Work?,” and the city of San Diego has a vested interest in that strategy as the home of the only major submarine and shipbuilding yards on the West Coast.
I’m looking forward to listening to and learning from the many distinguished speakers and informative sessions.
Admiral James G. Stavridis, USN (Ret.)
The conference kicks off Wednesday morning with a keynote by retired U.S. Navy Adm. James Stavridis. He is currently dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. A former supreme allied commander of the U.S. Navy in Europe from 2009 through 2013, Stavridis completed UN/NATO deployments to Haiti and Bosnia and a combat cruise to the Arabian Gulf.
Vice Admiral Joseph P. Mulloy, USN
Wednesday’s luncheon keynote will feature U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Joseph P. Mulloy. The son of a naval officer, Mulloy graduated with distinction from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Engineering. A graduate of Harvard Business School with a Master of Business Administration, he is currently assigned Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, Integration of Capabilities and Resources (OPNAV N8) in Washington, D.C.
Admiral Philip S. Davidson, USN
Thursday’s morning keynote will feature the Commander of the Navy’s Fleet Forces Command Adm. Philip S. Davidson. Before his most recent assignment, Davidson was the commander of the U.S. 6th Fleet and commander of Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO while simultaneously serving as the deputy commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe and U.S. Naval Forces Africa. He also served as the Navy’s military aide to the vice president of the United States.
Admiral Scott H. Swift, USN
The Navy’s U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Adm. Scott H. Swift is scheduled to speak during Thursday’s luncheon keynote. He was a Navy Staff director at the Pentagon before assuming command of U.S. Pacific Fleet. Swift is its 35th commander since the fleet was established in February 1941 with headquarters at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Women in Leadership
AFCEA will recognize the accomplishments of service women Thursday during its “Women in Leadership” event. Graduates of the Leadership Forum focusing on Women in Leadership during WEST 2016 will be honored, as well as winners of the AFCEA Women’s Appreciation Awards for 2016. Attendees will also get an opportunity to view “The Computers,” a documentary about the work of six young women who programmed the world’s first all-electronic programmable computer, the ENIAC, in 1945-46 as part of a secret World War II project. The women, part of a group called “Computers,” initially hand-computed ballistics trajectories for Army artillery filing tables. Kathy Kleiman, founder and president of the ENIAC Programmers Project, will introduce the documentary and lead a question-and-answer session afterward.
Information Warfare: Identifying the Gaps and Seams in Cyber Security
One of the highlights of WEST 2016 next week will be the panel discussion “Information Warfare: Identifying the Gaps and Seams in Cyber Security” at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. This informative panel will feature senior leaders from across the nation’s sea services, including Brig. Gen. Dennis A. Crall of the U.S. Marines, Rear Adm. Marshall B. Lytle III of the U.S. Coast Guard, Vice Adm. Jan E. Tighe of the U.S. Navy, Vice Adm. Ted N. Branch of the U.S. Navy, and Robert Foster, CIO of the Department of the Navy. AFCEA President and CEO and retired U.S. Marine Robert M. Shea will serve as moderator for the panel.
Closing out the event on Friday is a special town hall panel discussion with senior leaders from the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard who will weigh in on the future of the nation’s sea services. In addition to Stavridis, the panel will feature Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John M. Richardson, Marine Corps Gen. Robert B. Neller and the U.S. Coast Guard’s Vice Adm. Charles D. Michel.
Global Knowledge will be exhibiting at Booth #1924 during WEST 2016. If you want to follow our updates on Twitter throughout the week, I’ll be sharing them officially from @GKonGovt and semiofficially from @GKJohnMarkIvey.