TNI2011 – Session 2 – Operational and Economic Aspects

Posted by on Dec 19, 2011 in Articles | 226 comments

The trip to Heidelberg Germany for the TNI 2011 was my first experience as a member of the AFCEA Student Club and I consider it to be a LIFE CHANGING experience. It broadened my horizons with respect to the knowledge in the fields of Business and IT. During the four days of the conference, I met and interacted with people I wouldn’t have had the chance to meet from the industry and the army who were very eager to share their IT innovations and knowledge concerning the industry.

The first session of the TechNet International 2011 carried the title: “Operational and Economic Aspects”.

The panel, chaired by Mr. Dag Wilhelmsen (Technical Director of NC3A), consisted of highly distinguished speakers, like:

Mr. Bernd Wenzler, CEO, Cassidian (GE)

Mrs. Marie Murphy, Senior Product Manager (Training and Membership), TM Forum

Dr. Lothar Mackert, Vice President, Defence & Security, IBM (GE)

Mr. Cameron Chehreh, Chief Enterprise Engineer, Intelligence Solutions Div., General Dynamics (US)

Mr. Steven Sprague, President and CEO, Wave Systems Corp (US)

      The general framework of the conversation was built by Mr. Dag Wilhelmsen, Technical Director (NCSA).

He pointed out that we live in a century were there is no problem with the availability of technology but the responsiveness of the human factor and sustaining of such technology may be a remarkable barrier. Following him was the keynote speech of Mr. Christopher J. Rose, Director of Resources (NAMSA) who stated that nowadays we have to maximize the value for the money that’s given for a given project etc. He also stated that technology doesn’t have to be the next best thing but something that will work.

Next up was Mr. Bernd Wenzler, CEO, Cassidian (GE) who stated that speed is a success factor for his company but also one of the main goals of his company is to help countries defend (from!) themselves. Furthermore, he remarked that the enemy is using civil technology stressing out once again the fact that simplistic technology may be used.

Ms. Marie Murphy, Senior Product Manager responsible for Training and Membership, TM Forum (IRL) elaborated on what this Forum provides.  The AFCEA Student Club representatives were really pleased to meet individuals coming from the TM Forum and look forward to working closely with them.   By discussing the needs and problems openly, it helps form the legal framework, technology and the market expectations.

Dr. Lothar Mackert, Vice President, Defense and Security and Public Private Partnerships, IBM Deutschland GmbH (GE) opened up the conversation with advising more for less but also continued with the statement  that “the world is more instrumented, interconnected and the field of intelligence is expanding”. He focused on the fact that all decisions for the army are taken very quickly and because of that, the right pieces of information need to be present at the right time. This is something really critical and there is a need for a decision support system as he later on added which will be run by the army force and not by machines. Moreover, he correctly stated that there is a responsibility to share information but also to build a knowledge based system of superiority that will help in taking the right decisions in this way. Mr. Mackert believes that by using modules from the start is too hard, but if they use already used components, then this could stand as the best solution possible and IT will act like a toolbox.

Mr. Cameron Chehreh, Chief Enterprise Engineer, Intelligence Solutions Div., General Dynamics Information Technology (US) states that a fully leveraged cyberspace becomes a threat force or multiplier when talking about the need of expeditionary operations. He extended his discussion by stating that operations could work effectively with the empowerment of cloud computing. This century is mostly characterized as the end user experience since customers don’t care how but when they get the end ‘product’.

Lastly Mr. Steven Sprague, President and CEO, Wave Systems Corp. (US) stated that its on “who” and not on “what” is on the network.

       During my trip in the cosmic beautiful city of Heidelberg, Germany,  not only did this bring back memories of my childhood years of traveling with my family around the globe but also, it indeed opened my horizons to the real business world. The opportunities encountered were unique and special since I came into contact with people from various industries/governments; their backgrounds varied and through our conversations we shared / exchanged views on subjects that were discussed during the presentations.

Overall, I learned how the business world operates and how people “work the field”. I would like to thank the people who granted me with this chance and indeed the TechNet Conference changed my life and prospective.

” There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction”
~ Winston Churchill~

Indeed, just like Churchill quotes above; change is right when it is towards the right direction and I feel that  the AFCEA Student Club had got it right!

Demi Evangelatos, 


DEREE – The American College of Greece
Senior, School of Business Administration
International Business and European Affairs
Vice President, AFCEA Student Club

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