Air Force IT Conference kicks off

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- The Air Force Information Technology Conference kicked off Monday at the Renaissance Hotel and Spa at the Convention Center in downtown Montgomery, Ala.

The 754th Electronics System Group is hosting the week-long technology conference in conjunction with the city, and officials expect approximately 5,600 government and civilian attendees.

Lt. Gen. Robert J. Elder Jr., commander of the 8th Air Force, and Robert H. Sampson, IBM's vice president of Worldwide System Sales Systems and Technology Group, gave keynote addresses from government and industry standpoints, respectively.

General Elder spoke about the importance of cyberspace as a domain, how the Air Force relates to that domain and its challenges to national security operations.

"Cyberspace is so important because it crosses other domains," General Elder said. "Cyber operations require global and theater integration across all domains."

He also emphasized how the industry plays a key role in the Air Force's use of cyberspace.

"We need help with mission assurance and attack attribution," he said.

Mr. Sampson illustrated how industry partners like IBM help the Air Force accomplish its mission in cyberspace. He spoke about the challenges and opportunities of harnessing existing capabilities and developing new ones in relation to the Air Force and the Department of Defense as a whole.

The conference, which has been hosted in Montgomery for 25 years, focuses on current and future applications of an array of technology within the Air Force. According to the conference Web site, the annual event is one of the primary means by which Air Force IT users, developers and managers stay up-to-date on the latest advancements in technology.

Other keynote speakers throughout the week include Jeff Henley, ORACLE chairman of the board; Brig. Gen. Michael Basla, vice director, Command, Control, Communications and Computer (C4) Systems, Joint Staff; Ronald Poussard, director, Office of Small Business Programs, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force; Maj. Gen. John Maluda, director, Cyberspace Transformation and Strategy, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force of Warfighting Integration and Chief Information; and Brad Boston, senior vice president for CISCO's global government solutions group.

In addition to the keynote speakers, attendees will hear from dozens of speakers in smaller seminars each day. Seminars represent both the military and commercial perspectives, as presenters from both sides showcase products, services and advancements in information technology.

The conference also presents opportunities for military and industry leaders to mingle and learn more about many new products displayed on the 73,000-square foot vendor floor.

The week will conclude with a banquet and a game of golf at the nearby Robert Trent Jones golf course in Prattville, Ala.