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December 10, 2008
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This Morning's
at Reagan Building

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We were up early (again) today for the beginning of AFCEA International's two-day cyber security conference at the Reagan Building as part of the organization's year-long Solutions Series. We joined more than 400 government IT whizzes to hear the latest from Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Secretary of the Navy Gordon England.


Chertoff's security detail and the lack of a telephoto lens kept us from getting too close, but we heard pretty clearly. With so much of our economy and personal information on the Web, Chertoff said the importance of cyber security has become obvious. In the past two years, he said we have seen cyber attacks as prelude to military action, such as Russia's August attack on Georgia. "Cyber warfare is preparing the battlefield, degrading their enemy's communication and control to make attacks easier," he said, noting those kind of strikes will only increase.


Secretary England says that while more technology helps business, it also makes the country susceptible to cyber attacks, especially as other countries become more advanced. "I'm not saying I don't want China to have honor students," he said, "but we should encourage our children in school every day, especially in math and science, because the survival of our networks and our nation depends on it. This is an area you have to be paranoid about. I think we are very very early in the stages of network security and there will be challenges we cannot predict, but the way to attack it is to fight every day with the best people you can find," he said.


That dot in the back of the picture is Booz Allen's Kat Hollis. AFCEA's Solutions Series was aimed at providing a forum for the government to share current thinking and direction while industry can offer perspective on capability. Previous conferences centered on information assurance, identity assurance and information sharing.


Harris Corporation's Fred Mingo, IBM's Josh Corman and Booz Allen's Andy Singer. You may remember Fred as former CIO of the Naval Reserves, and it makes sense he is now working for Harris on the Navy's Next Generation Network (NGEN). Fred is going to South Carolina in a few weeks for a reunion with classmates at the University of Miami (Ohio). "We're going to drink beer and remember the old days," he says. 


Kipps DeSanto's Pack Fancher and Tresys Technology's Scott Winn. Scott tells us Tresys works with Red Hat in developing a security enhanced version of Linux they sell to government national security agencies. Scott says us the company, based in Columbia, has a "Silicon Valley-like feel." Translation: They have a Wii.

Ernst & Young Gives Back

Instead of a lavish holiday party, E&Y decided to spend money on holiday-themed community services. Last night the Greater Washington branch was busy helping the Red Cross create holiday cards to send to troops oversees, assisting the Orphan Foundation by sorting and processing donated scarves, and creating birthday and holiday cards for homeless guests at Miriam's Kitchen. Pictured: E&Y's Brian Gates, Kati Penney and Amy Thompson, Orphan Foundation of America's Lynn Davis, Volunteer Fairfax's Samantha Watson and E&Y Greater Washington Market Leader Kevin Virostek and Peggy Smyth (sitting).

David Stegon will be at the ASBC Holiday Mixer tonight and is returning to AFCEA's conference tomorrow, because he enjoys being employed and earning a paycheck. Send story ideas to keep him moving (and the boss happy) to David@Bisnow.com.

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