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Communication conference in Tampa

by Nick Stubbs
Thunderbolt staff writer

The war of terrorism may turn on the contributions of military personnel and equipment, but it might be argued that at the heart of all operations will be communications technology. With a focus on anti-terrorist applications, the latest in comm tech will be on display at TECHNET Tampa, where 150 vendors will show their wares March 11 and 12 at the Convention Center downtown. It's a show MacDill personnel actively are helping organize.

Staged for manufacturers and their military customers, the event is put on by the Armed Forces Communication and Electronics Association. MacDill is providing manpower and equipment, said Lt. Col. Steve O'Rear, 6th Communications Squadron commander. Members of the communications squadron also will be attending special seminars on communications technologies for battling terrorism. Another seminar will be geared toward military communications personnel seeking to make the transition into the private sector.

Richard Collins, outgoing president of the local Dolphin chapter of the AFCEA, said the annual convention is the place to see the latest and greatest in communication technology and related electronic gadgetry. Military members use the show to find technology solutions to solve problems or assist in their missions, while manufacturers discover the needs of the military so they can respond with the right kinds of products and equipment, said Collins.

O'Rear said the convention is a great place for communications professionals to do their shopping. "There may be issues or problems that a particular piece of equipment could solve," he said. "This (the convention) gives us a chance to look at specs and capabilities (of the equipment)."

O'Rear said oftentimes the ideal solution is found at such shows, and recommendations can be made to begin the acquisition process. Even if the equipment found is not perfect for a given job, it may possess attributes that may find their way into specifications for military equipment, said O'Rear.

Collins said the convention is open to the public. While no classified equipment or information will be distributed, those who want to attend seminars at the event must register.

AFCEA not only supports its military and civilian members, its philanthropic side works to help those with an interest in communications and electronics further their careers. He said the group has awarded about $100,000 in scholarships to high school students and military members, including some at MacDill.

 

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