Large IT gathering grew from humble start



by Christopher Kratzer
Air University Public Affairs


8/19/2011 - MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- The Air Force Information Technology Conference, or AFITC, has come a long way since its inception as the Air Force Small Computer Conference in 1983, according to Jason Bishop, the lead strategic communicator for the conference.

AFITC will be held in Montgomery at the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel and Spa Aug. 29-30. The conference is the premier military information technology event, bringing together government leaders and key figures in the IT industry.

"It was designed as a forum for the exchange of vital information needed to exploit the latest small computer technology to its maximum potential within the U.S. government," he said. "There was one keynote speaker and the government personnel were required to write their name on masking tape and adhere (it) to their desktops that were displayed at the conference."

Now the event draws almost 6,000 people every year and has a team working to bring the event together, according to the event's chairman, Capt. Shane Ross.

"An event like AFITC requires a massive amount of teamwork," Ross said. "There are many moving parts and the event would not be what it is without the collective effort of so many great people. From the logistics involved with getting the hotel prepared for the event, to ensuring that all of the distinguished visitors are taken care of, it is truly a logistical puzzle that actually runs amazingly smooth."

This year's theme is "IT Transformation: Conquering the Cloud," and will focus on acquisition reform and how the Department of Defense will utilize that to improve support to the war fighter with increased performance while reducing cost, stated Bishop.

The event is crucial to the advancement of the Air Force in cyberspace, he said.

"The AFITC brings together government IT leaders, users, managers, purchasers and providers with our industry partners who provide the innovation necessary to keep our nation's war fighters the most advanced fighting force in the world."

Industry professionals have a unique opportunity to interact directly with government IT leadership.

"AFITC provides the forum for the IT government community to present its mission, needs and challenges to our industry partners who, in turn, have the opportunity to present how to take their capabilities and provide solutions," said Bishop.

Both Bishop and Ross said relationships built at the conference impact the future of the Air Force in cyberspace.

"It is events like AFITC that provide the forum for government, industry and academia to interact face-to-face, exchange information, and come together for a common purpose," Ross said.

For more information on AFITC or to register for the conference online, visit http://afitc.gunter.af.mil.