Ash Carter

Ash Carter served as the 25th Secretary of Defense. For over 35 years inside government under presidents of both political parties as well as in the private sector, Carter has leveraged his extraordinary experience in national security, technology and innovation to defend the U.S. and make a better world.

Carter served as Defense Secretary from 2015 to 2017. Leading the largest organization in the world with more than three million civilian and military employees and an annual budget of more than half a trillion dollars, Carter became known for his savvy leadership and for ensuring the Pentagon thought “outside its five-sided box.”

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Speakers and Panelists

The agenda for this forum, including active duty panelists and speakers is still being decided. Registrants will be emailed the agenda when it becomes available.

Joseph M. Shields | Catai Solutions | Managing Director

Joseph M. Shields, Esq. is the Managing Director of Catai Solutions (CATAI), the Coalition Advancing Technology and Innovation, a 501c3 independent tax-exempt non-profit. CATAI works with leaders from government and industry to advance and better understand market-ready edge and IoT solutions. Joe has had an extensive career in business and policy, advocacy, and the law. For a decade, Shields served on a bi-partisan basis, as a senior executive and counsel for three governors, Republican Chris Christie and Democrats Andrew Cuomo, and Jon Corzine. As a highly-trusted executive and counsel, Shields is relied on for his guidance, acumen, and problem-solving skills. He has stewarded a series of complex matters, initiatives and platforms for both private sector clients and as a senior public official. His work has garnered recognition in the media as well as national awards for innovation. A graduate of Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Public Affairs and Temple University’s Beasley School of Law, he and his family live in Northern Virginia.

MG (Ret.) Lawrence “Wayne” Brock III | U.S. Army

Major General (Ret.) Brock retired from the US Army in August of 2016 after 36 years of military service. His most recent assignment was Commanding General of the 311th Signal Command (Theater) from 2014—2016. His command covered all facets of Army communications within the Pacific Region, comprised of the 1st and 516th Signal Brigades, while also serving as the US Army Pacific (USARPAC) Deputy Chief of Staff, G-6.


In addition to his Pacific Command, for much of MG (Ret.) Brock’s career he served in command billets to include Commanding General of the 335th Signal Command (Theater), East Point, GA, responsible for executing the command’s dual mission: providing critical chemical, communications and information services in support of forces in Southwest Asia, as well as Homeland Defense operations as directed by the U.S. Army Reserve Command. He was Commanding General of the 335th Signal Forward (Kuwait) supporting Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation New Dawn while dual hatted as the Army Central Command (ARCENT) G6. In addition, further General Officer level commands were the 359th Signal Command at Ft Gordon GA. MG (Ret.) Brock also served overseas as Director of Communications CJ6, Headquarters, Combined Forces Command-Afghanistan, Operation Enduring Freedom and Director of Signal Integration, ACSE-A, Operation Enduring Freedom and ARCENT Deputy Chief of Staff, G-6.

MG (Ret.) Brock is a graduate of The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, with a bachelor’s of science degree in Business Administration. His military education includes completion of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, the U.S. Army War College, and National Defense University.

His awards and decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Legion of Merit (one oak leaf cluster), Bronze Star Medal (one oak leaf cluster), Meritorious Service Medal (two Oak Leaf Clusters), Army Commendation Medal and Army Achievement Medal (two Oak Leaf Clusters).

MG (Ret.) Brock is married to the former Melinda Jackson and has two children, Lance and Katherine plus two granddaughters.

MajGen (Ret.) Mark “Droopy” Clark | U.S. Marine Corps

Mark “Droopy” Clark, MajGen USMC (ret’d) is a native of South Dakota and Minnesota. He is a 1980 graduate of South Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Commercial Economics. He received his commission as a Second Lieutenant in June 1981 upon completion of Officer Candidate School.

In 1983, 2nd LT Clark was designated a naval aviator. As a CH-53E pilot stationed at Marine Corps Air Station New River, NC, he spent numerous assignments at various squadrons to include several Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) deployments. In 2007 he was designated an MV-22 Osprey pilot.

As a Platoon Commander for 2d Brigade Platoon, 2d Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company Captain Clark was tasked with primary support to the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division and involved training support with SOF and the British Royal Marines.

As a Brigadier General, he was assigned to Headquarters Marine Corps in the Pentagon as the Director of Plans, Strategy and International Engagement. During this period he served as a member of the Inter- American Defense Board.

His assignments with special operations range from the tactical level to the strategic level. His first assignment as a Captain/Major was as a MH-53J PAVELOW pilot with the 20th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Fl. Later he was assigned to Theater Special Operations Command (Central), Combined Special Operations Task Force South in Afghanistan and later to Combined Forces Special Operations Command Central in Qatar. As a Colonel he was assigned to the Campaign Support Group/Center for Special Operations which was newly established by US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) to take the DOD lead for the global war on terrorism. During this period he worked extensively with the newly formed National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC).  BGEN Clark was later assigned as the first Marine J3 at USSOCOM, with an extended assignment as the Chief of Staff and acting Deputy Commander. His most recent assignment with special operations was as the commander for Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command.

Assignments included deployments and operations in Southwest Asia (Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm); Bosnia; Haiti; Afghanistan.

As a pilot he was qualified in the CH-53E; MH-53J PAVELOW, and the MV-22 Osprey.

His command assignments include Platoon Commander 2D Air naval Gunfire Liaison Company; Commanding Officer Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 461; Commanding Officer Marine Medium Tilt Rotor Squadron 204; Commanding General Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command.

His military education achievements include Aviation Safety School, Aircraft Maintenance School, Weapons and Tactics Instructor School (WTI), two Master’s in Military Studies, Seminar XXI Strategic Studies, and Doctorate in Public Service.

Key Note Speaker

SECDEF (Ret.) Ash Carter | U.S. Department of Defense

Ash Carter served as the 25th Secretary of Defense.

For over 35 years inside government under presidents of both political parties as well as in the private sector, Carter has leveraged his extraordinary experience in national security, technology and innovation to defend the United States and make a better world.

Carter served as Defense Secretary from 2015 to 2017. Leading the largest organization in the world with more than three million civilian and military employees and an annual budget of more than half a trillion dollars, Carter became known for his savvy leadership and for ensuring the Pentagon thought “outside its five-sided box.” At a time of global change and congressional gridlock, Carter transformed the way the Defense Department fought adversaries, stood with allies and partners, planned and budgeted, partnered with private enterprises, and managed its talent.

As Secretary, Carter advised President Obama and transformed the department’s strategic thinking and operations on critical global challenges and across the domains of armed conflict—not just sea and air and land, but also in space and cyberspace. He changed the trajectory of the military campaign to deliver ISIL a lasting defeat, coordinating a global coalition of dozens of nations, simultaneously conducting operations in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, and beyond, and eliminating ISIL’s leaders and plotters. Carter also designed and executed the strategic pivot to the Asia-Pacific, established the Defense Department and NATO’s new playbook for confronting Russia’s aggression, and launched the Defense Department’s latest cyber strategy.

At the same time Carter directed America’s global operations, he also spearheaded revolutionary improvements to the Defense Department. To develop new technological and operational capabilities, he pushed investments in research and development to nearly $72 billion dollars in the fiscal year 2017 budget alone. Carter also launched six transformative Force of the Future initiatives to change the way the department recruits, trains, and retains quality people, and he also directed the opening of all military positions to women without exception. And to make the department more innovative, Carter created the Defense Digital Service to bring tech experts into the Pentagon for a tour of duty. He also opened Pentagon outposts in Silicon Valley, Boston, Austin, and other tech hubs to reconnect the government and military with visionary private sector leaders and companies, and established the Department’s first Defense Innovation Board, which attracted thought leaders such as Google Alphabet’s Eric Schmidt, astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson, LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman, and many more, as well as the Pentagon’s Chief Innovation Officer position.

Before becoming Secretary of Defense, Carter served in the department’s number two and number three jobs. As Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer from 2011 to 2013, he oversaw the department’s management and personnel and steered strategy and budget through the turmoil of sequester. As Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (ATL) from 2009 to 2011, Carter led the department’s procurement reform and innovation agenda, the successful completion of key procurements like the KC-46 tanker and the cancellation of unsuccessful programs like the presidential helicopter, rapid acquisitions (including the development of thousands of mine-resistant ambush protected “MRAP” vehicles that saved countless service members’ lives in Afghanistan and elsewhere), and global logistics for the largest enterprise on earth.

Earlier in his government career, Carter served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy from 1993 to 1996. He was responsible for the Nunn-Lugar program that removed and eliminated nuclear weapons in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus, the military planning during the 1994 crisis over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, and the U.S. nuclear arsenal. In the Defense Department and on Capitol Hill during the Cold War, Carter was known for his work on missile defense and the then-Strategic Defense Initiative, as well as basing options for the MX Missile. Over the past three decades, Carter has also served on the Defense Policy Board, the Defense Science Board, and the Secretary of State’s International Security Advisory Board.

In addition to his government service, Carter has taught at many of the world’s outstanding academic institutions. He has been a distinguished visiting fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and a lecturer at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. At Harvard’s Kennedy School from 1996 to 2009, Carter was a Professor of Science and International Affairs and Chair of the International & Global Affairs faculty. He served as a physics instructor at Oxford University, a postdoctoral fellow at Rockefeller University and MIT, and an experimental research associate at Brookhaven and Fermilab National Laboratories. Carter is also author or co-author of 11 books and more than 100 articles on physics, technology, national security and management.

Outside of government and the university, Carter was a senior executive at the Markle Foundation’s America-wide initiative to shape technology and trade strategies to enable all Americans to flourish in a networked global economy. Previously, Carter was a senior partner of Global Technology Partners focused on advising major investment firms in technology, and an advisor on global affairs to Goldman Sachs. He has also served on the boards of the MITRE Corporation, Mitretek Systems, and Lincoln Laboratories at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and as a member of the Draper Laboratory Corporation. He was also elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Aspen Strategy Group.

For his government service, Carter has been awarded the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the department’s highest civilian honor, on five separate occasions, and he twice received the Joint Distinguished Service Medal from the Chairman and Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Carter earned his bachelor’s degrees in Physics and in Medieval History, summa cum laude, at Yale University, where he was also awarded Phi Beta Kappa; and he received his doctorate in Theoretical Physics from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.

A native of Philadelphia, he is married to Stephanie Carter and has two grown children.


LTG (Ret.) John F. Mulholland, Jr. | Former Associate Director of the CIA for Military Affairs, Deputy Commander of SOCOM, Commanding General of USASOC, and Deputy Commander of JSOC

The proud son of a USAF fighter pilot and Korean War veteran, Lieutenant General (Retired) Mulholland John Francis Mulholland, Jr. was born in Clovis, New Mexico, but grew up in Bethesda, Maryland.  He earned a Bachelor of Arts in History and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant of Infantry, United States Army upon graduating from Furman University, Greenville, South Carolina, in 1978.

As a young Infantry officer, LTG (Retired) Mulholland served as platoon leader of both mechanized and airborne rifle platoons, as well as mortar platoon leader.  Since joining the 1st Special Forces Regiment in 1983, LTG Mulholland (Ret) commanded from the captain through lieutenant general-level in Army and joint special operations forces, including serving as Deputy Commanding General, Joint Special Operations Command, as the Commanding General, United States Army Special Operations Command, and as the 15th Deputy Commander, United States Special Operations Command. Following graduating from the National War College in 2001, then-COL Mulholland assumed command of the 5th Special Forces Group, Airborne at Ft. Campbell, KY. In the immediate aftermath of the attacks of 9-11, Colonel Mulholland commanded Joint Special Operations Task Force-North (Task Force Dagger) in the opening days of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM and, later, Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-West (Task Force Dagger) in the initial campaign of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. 

LTG Mulholland’s (Ret) overseas assignments included two tours in the former Panama Canal Zone, command of the 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (ABN), Okinawa, Japan and as the Chief, Office of Military Cooperation, Kuwait.  LTG Mulholland (Ret) served at and completed his final tour on active duty as the Associate Director of Military Affairs, Central Intelligence Agency.  LTG Mulholland (Ret) is married to the former Miriam Mitchell. Together, they have 4 grown children and 5 grandchildren.  LTG Mulholland (Ret) and Miriam now operate Mulholland Consulting, LLC in Alexandria, Virginia.

LTG (Ret.) Mark S. Bowman | Former Director C4/Cyber, CIO, Joint Staff J6/CIO, the Pentagon, Washington D.C.

Director, Command, Control, Communications and Computers / Cyber, Joint Staff, J6

Lieutenant General Mark S. Bowman is the Director Command, Control, Communications and Computers (C4) / Cyber, Chief Information Officer, Joint Staff, J6/CIO, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C. He develops C4 capabilities; conducts analysis and assessments; provides Joint and Combined Force C4 guidance, and evaluates C4 requirements, plans, programs and strategies for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Most recently, he served as the Director of Architecture, Operations, Networks, and Space, Office of the Army CIO/G-6 for establishing and maintaining strategy, policy, and guidance to build, integrate, communicate, and facilitate the seamless implementation of the Army’s network (LandWarNet) in a Joint and Coalition environment.

Lieutenant General Bowman was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant on 28 May 1978. He has served in several joint and operational assignments and has commanded at every level from company to Signal Brigade.

His Army staff assignments have been as Supply Officer and Training Officer, 2nd Battalion, 1st Signal Training Brigade, Fort Gordon, GA; Communications Systems Engineer and Chief, Force Structure Branch, 5th Signal Command, Germany; Project Officer and Chief, Concepts Branch for Concepts and Studies Division, Combat Development Directorate, Fort Gordon, GA; Operations Officer, 67th Signal Battalion, Fort Gordon, GA; Executive Officer and Staff Officer for Modernization and Integration for Tactical Systems Directorate, Office of Director of Information Systems for Command, Control, Communications, and Computers (C4), Washington, DC; and Assistant Chief of Staff (Operations), 9th Signal Command (Army), Fort Huachuca, AZ. His Joint staff assignments included Staff Officer for C4 Systems Directorate, National Military Command System, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Wash., D.C.; Chief, Operations Division, Joint Staff Support Center, Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), Wash., D.C.; Chief of Staff, DISA, Arlington, VA; and Director, J-6, US Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, FL.

He commanded D Company, 6th Battalion, 1st Signal Training Brigade, Fort Gordon, GA; 54th Signal Battalion, Saudi Arabia; Joint Staff Support Center, DISA, Washington, DC; and 11th Signal Brigade, Fort Huachuca, AZ, which deployed to the Middle East for OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM; and Deputy Commanding General (Support), Network Enterprise Technology Command/9th Signal Command (Army), Arlington, VA.

Lieutenant General Bowman has a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Norwich University, VT, where he received his commission. He holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Shippensburg University, PA.


COL (Ret.) John E. McLaughlin | SOCOM | former Director, C4 Operations

COL (Ret.) McLaughlin was most recently the Director of C4 Operations, United States Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. He was responsible to provide, operate and defend the SOF Information Environment (SIE) and all SOF Networks in support of global SOF operations.  

Throughout his career, Colonel (Ret) McLaughlin served in several key leadership and staff positions.

His assignments included:

– Battalion Signal Officer, 2-503d Infantry, Camp Hovey, Korea;

– Platoon Leader and Assistant S3, 154th Signal Battalion, Fort Clayton, Panama;

– Battalion Signal Officer, 1-508th Infantry (ABN), Fort Kobbe, Panama;

– Company Commander and Group S6, 4th Psychological Operations Group, Fort Bragg, NC;

– Battalion S6, 1-75th Ranger Regiment, Hunter Army Airfield, Savannah, GA;

– Brigade S6, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, NC;

– Assistant Division Signal Officer, and Battalion Executive Officer, 82nd Signal Battalion, 82d   Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, NC;

– Regimental Signal Officer, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, GA;

– Battalion Commander, 112th Signal Battalion, United States Army Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, NC;

– Battalion Commander, Joint Communications Unit, Fort Bragg, NC.

– Brigade Commander, DISA Global, Scott AFB IL.

Colonel (Ret) McLaughlin’s military decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal (1 OLC), Legion of Merit (1 OLC), and the Bronze Star (2 OLC). He has also been awarded the Ranger Tab, the Master Parachutist Badge, the Combat Action Badge, and the Argentinean, German, and Canadian Parachutist Badges.

Colonel (Ret) McLaughlin’s military education includes the Signal Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, the Army Command and General Staff College, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. He holds a Master of Science degree in National Resource Strategy. He has also graduated from the U.S. Army Airborne School and Ranger School. He earned a Cyber Leader Certification from the National Defense University’s College.

He is a graduate of Williamsville North High School in Buffalo, NY and the University of Texas at Austin where he was commissioned in the Signal Corps.

He retired 30 Sep 2017 and now owns his own independent consulting and keynote speaking firm, IPR Consulting LLC, specializing in Enterprise Operations and defense, Cyber Security, Satellite Operations, NETOPS and other C4I related areas.

Colonel (Ret) McLaughlin has two daughters, Shannon and Meagan.


David Huisenga | Klas Telecom Government | CEO & President

David Huisenga has been President and CEO of Klas Telecom Government, Inc. since December 2013. Prior to his executive management roles, Mr. Huisenga spent over 20 years designing, integrating and maintaining specialized data, voice and video communications systems. Mr. Huisenga is currently serving as the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) Washington D.C. Chapter President. He joined the NDIA Washington D.C. Chapter Board of Directors in 2016 and has also served as Treasurer and First Vice President.

Mr. Huisenga graduated from Old Dominion University in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering Technology and in 2007 with a Masters of Engineering Management and System Engineering. Mr. Huisenga served in the US Navy from 1989 until 1995 as an Electronics Technician commissioning and serving on board the USS Anzio (CG-68). Mr. Huisenga was previously employed by Merlin International Inc., Cobham Antenna Systems, Mission Mobility/Dataline Inc., SAIC Information Services and Space and Naval Systems Command (SPAWAR).

Mr. Huisenga is married to his wife, Jenny. Together they have 4 children.

Biney Dhillon | NexTech Solutions | CEO

Biney, who assumed the role of Chief Executive Office in 2016, has been managing large IT programs and projects for government and commercial organizations for more than two decades. With deep exposure to data center transformation – including many nights spent sleeping on cots to ensure that key data centers were performing as required – he began applying the lessons from his on-the-ground experience to the strategic side of operations in 2002, seeking opportunities for growth and innovation for clients.


Suman Mallick | CodeMettle | Director of Systems Engineering

Suman Mallick is the Director of Systems Engineering for CodeMettle LLC (a data and network orchestration software business servicing the DoD and commercial enterprise clients). He brings nearly two decades of experience designing, building, and delivering software solutions to simplify and automate operations of complex, hybrid networks. Currently, he leads a team of engineers that interpret requirements to design and deliver CodeMettle solutions tailored to the customer’s network environment and human processes.

Gregory Van Dyke | JCSE | GS-14 Chief Information Officer | J6 Director J6

Mr. Van Dyke is a U.S. Air Force Civilian and joined Joint Communications Support Element (Airborne), MacDill AFB, FL in April 2018. Mission encompasses technology refresh, technology insertion, and modernization of the JCSE end-to-end Enterprise Architecture.

Mr. Van Dyke is a native of Hillsboro, OR. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in December 1991 as an Electronics Technician (ET) supporting naval and GMF missions from SATCOM Ground stations. Mr. Van Dyke became a DOD Civilian with DISA in June 2010. He was one of the pioneers leading the transition from TDM to TCP/IP in support of tactical operations at the DOD SATCOM Gateways. His continued contribution to the tactical environment resulted in providing a voice and data gateway capability that bridges the UHF half-duplex network with the full duplex Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) network allowing warfighters to communicate between the diverse environments. He deployed to Afghanistan in 2014 serving as the DISA Liaison Officer that furthered his understanding of the tactical battlespace.

Mr. Van Dyke was the lead network architect from 2015-2017 helping shape the future of the SATCOM Gateway Architecture by conducting numerous working groups with the tactical community to create the Joint Information Environment (JIE) SATCOM Gateway Technical Architecture Description (TAD) approved by the executive Enterprise Architecture and Services Board (EASB). He was the SDN project manager directing the automation of the MPLS ordering and provisioning process. He was a key contributor defining the overarching DISA Software Defined Enterprise (SDE) strategy.

Mr. Van Dyke’s significant awards and decorations include two 2018 DOD CIO Annual Award for Cyber & IT Excellence in the team categories for A-ISR and enhancing Korea operational support, 2017 DISA Director Super Star (1 of 14), 2017 DISA Director Outstanding Non-Technical Project of the Year team award, and 2014 U.S. Army Outstanding Civilian Service Medal.

Mr. Van Dyke has been married over 20 years to Heather of Jacksonville, FL and they have two children together.


CW5 Robert G. Byrd | SOCOM J6 | Chief Engineer

CW5 Robert Byrd is a native of Longview, Texas. He entered the military as an Enlisted Soldier in 1993 where he attended the 29Y Army Satellite Communications Operator (SATCOM) course at Fort Gordon, Georgia.

His first assignment was with the 56th Signal Battalion in 1994 at Corozal, Panama as a SATCOM earth terminal and ground mobile forces (GMF) gateway shift operator. He supported numerous SOUTHCOM counter-narcotic, humanitarian, and partner force training missions with long haul C4 reach back services. In 1996 he was assigned to the 1110th Signal Battalion, Fort Meade, Maryland. As a shift supervisor and maintenance NCO for the strategic earth terminal complex, he remotely supported the National Command Authority (NCA), SECDEF and Intelligence Community (IC) mission connectivity. CW5 Byrd’s third enlisted assignment in 1999 was with 58th Signal Battalion Fort Buckner, Japan. He served as the operations NCO of a PACOM standardized tactical entry point (STEP). In that position he coordinated and managed countless theater level force readiness training missions, airborne and maritime C4 missions, and STRATCOM directed missions. His last enlisted assignment was at Ft Gordon, Georgia as an instructor of the Army Communications Electronics Maintenance (CEM) course.

In 2002, CW5 Byrd was selected and attended the Warrant Officer Candidate Course at Fort Rucker, Alabama and follow on Warrant Officer Signal Basic Course at Fort Gordon. In 2003, he graduated from the 250N network management technician course as the distinguished honor graduate and leadership awardee. CW5 Byrd’s first warrant officer assignment was with the 307th Signal Battalion, in Camp Carroll, Korea. As the battalion network technician, he oversaw and planned tactical C4 voice, data and RF networks for the southern Korean peninsula. His next assignment in 2004 was to the EUCOM AOR with the NATO Allied Land Component Command in Madrid, Spain. As the customer support center officer in charge (OIC) within the NATO Communication Services Agency (NCSA), he oversaw and directed the garrison enterprise systems and system technicians. In 2007, he moved the 302nd Signal Battalion, Fort Meade, Maryland. As the DoD SATCOM gateway operations officer and earth terminal complex manager, he oversaw global SHF missions and provisioning oversight of DISA tactical services.  In 2010, he assessed for a DoD Special Mission Unit. During that time, he served as a unit S6 and communications element officer-in-charge. He led a team of globally deployed C4 tactical communicators, an enterprise IT staff supporting garrison and executive services, and C4ISR research & development program. Since 2017, CW5 Byrd serves as the SOCOM J6 Chief Engineer and Senior Technical advisor. His acts as the senior SOF Signal warrant officer manager and advises the SOCOM CIO/J6 in all areas of technical operations.

CW5 Byrd has deployed to Operations Iraqi Freedom, Inherent Resolve and numerous other SOF operations within CENTCOM and AFRICOM AOR. He served as a forward task force J6, DJ6 and forward communication element OIC. He has also directly supported readiness, NATO partnership for peace (PfP) and humanitarian operations within SOUTHCOM, AFRICOM, EUCOM, and PACOM. He has spent months under way aboard the USS Blue Ridge, Mount Whitney, San Antonio and New York.

CW5 Byrd’s warrant officer military training includes Warrant Officer Basic and Advance Courses (WOBC/WOAC), Warrant Officer Intermediate Level Education (ILE) and Senior Service Education (SSE), capabilities development and contracting officer courses. He graduated from University of Maryland University College in 2010, earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Networks and a Master’s of Science in Information Technology from Grantham University in 2015.

CW5 Byrd’s awards and decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Army Parachutist Badge, Army Aviator Badge, Presidential Unit Award and Joint Meritorious Unit Award.

CW5 Byrd is married to his bride of 22 years, Carolina Mendez. He is a father of two boys: Nicolas Payton Byrd, age 17 and Sean Preston Byrd, age 15.

CW4 (Ret.) Burke Brooks | SOCOM J6 | Chief Engineer

Burke E. Brooks, President of Brooks Technology Consulting Group, LLC and a retired Chief Warrant Officer Four in the United States Army.  His twenty-two years of service in the Army were primarily with the Special Operation Forces community, and the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division.  Burke holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Networks and Security from the University of Maryland University College, is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), and a Certified Scrum Master.  Since retirement, Burke has worked on projects revolving around Cyber Security Training, and Cloud service delivery.


Jack Hart | GTRI | Command & Control Mission Assurance | Division Chief

Jack Hart is a Principal Research Engineer at the Georgia Tech Research Institute. During 24 years at Georgia Tech, he has been engaged in applied research across the spectrum of electronic systems, communications, and cyber operations. Since 2011, Jack has served as the Division Chief for Command and Control Mission Assurance (C2MA) at GTRI. He is also an affiliated research faculty member of the Institute for Information Security & Privacy (IISP) at Georgia Tech.

Jack leads C4I and cyber research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E) programs totaling $75M in annual revenue. These sponsored programs have global reach, with C2MA personnel regularly operating in seven different time zones to deliver mission-critical solutions to DOD sponsors as well as other government agencies. Jack directly manages a staff of 100 personnel and is responsible for contracts and sponsor deliverables. He stood up and still manages multiple field offices, including: Panama City, FL; San Diego CA; and Honolulu HI.

Jack’s technical interests include network design, service-oriented architectures, software-defined storage and software-defined networks, deception networking, and microservices. In addition to various sponsored programs for Army, Air Force, and combat support agencies, Jack has a broad portfolio of Navy and Joint programs. Examples of his technology transition include Virtual Secure Enclave (VSE) and Deployable Joint Command & Control (DJC2) system. Jack led much of the design, integration, and testing for both VSE and DJC2, and has taken systems to the field for Combatant Commands including INDO-PACOM, EUCOM, and SOUTHCOM.

Jack’s commitment to delivering solutions to mission challenges has been recognized by receiving the Outstanding Performance in Program Development award in 2012 and again in 2017. This is the highest honor at GTRI for customer satisfaction and revenue growth.

He retired 30 Sep 2017 and now owns his own independent consulting and keynote speaking firm, IPR Consulting LLC, specializing in Enterprise Operations and defense, Cyber Security, Satellite Operations, NETOPS and other C4I related areas.

Colonel (Ret) McLaughlin has two daughters, Shannon and Meagan.


Mike Colson | Amazon Web Services (AWS) | Senior Solutions Architect

Mike Colson is Senior Solutions Architect with Amazon Web Services World Wide Public Sector team supporting the Department of Defense. Mike knows some stuff about cloud, enjoys sleeping and eating. His primary focus at AWS is tactical edge for the DoD with cloud services such as AWS Rekognition, AWS Transcribe, and the AWS Snowball Edge solution.

Michael Geist | Envistacom | VP of Strategy and Technology

Michael Geist is the Vice President of Strategy and Technology at Envistacom.  With nearly 25 years of experience in the areas of satellite communications , networking, and cyber, Mr. Geist’s role at Envistacom is to develop advanced technologies that enhance our warfighter’s ability to accomplish their mission and make the world a safer place for everyone everywhere.  Michael’s work at Envistacom has led to specific innovations related network service delivery efficiency and network resilience through virtualization.  In concert with these innovations, Michael leads Envistacom’s mission to enable an open-architecture ecosystem where the industry’s best innovators and technologists can employ their latest proprietary satellite communications waveforms, network and security applications virtually on common High Performance Computing (HPC) hardware platforms in order to accelerate technology advancement to the warfighter.

CDR Dave Perry | SOCEUR J6X

Commander Perry was commissioned as an Ensign in 1999 after graduating from the United States Naval Academy with a B.S. in Economics. From there, he reported to Surface Warfare Officer School, Newport, RI.  In June 2000, after completing the Division Officer and Information Systems Officer courses, he reported to USS LAKE ERIE (CG 70) in Pearl Harbor, HI, as the Communications Officer supporting the Navy’s first Ballistic Missile Defense platform.  After finishing his tour as the Electrical Officer in June 2002, he reported in USS NICHOLAS (FFG 47), Norfolk, VA, as the Navigator and Administrative Officer. After completing a Baltic and Mediterranean deployment in January 2004, he transferred to Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Pearl Harbor, HI, where he served as a N6 C5I action officer.

In November 2004, Commander Perry reported in USS CHOSIN (CG 65), Pearl Harbor, HI, as the Information Systems Officer, serving as the C4 Department Head. After completing a Western Pacific and Arabian Gulf Deployment, he transferred to Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station, Pacific, Wahiawa, HI, (NCTAMS PAC) in August 2006 where he served as the Pacific Region Network Operations Center Division Officer and as the Communications Officer/Deputy Operations Officer.

From March 2007 until October 2007, Commander Perry served as an individual augmentee Communications Officer to a Joint Special Operations Task Force in Afghanistan. Following this assignment, he returned to NCTAMS PAC until November 2009. In December 2009, he assumed the duties as the Naval Special Warfare Development Group N6 Director. In August 2012, after various special operations deployments to multiple theatres, Commander Perry reported to United States European Command located in Stuttgart, Germany, as a J6 action officer. After completing branch chief tours in Coalition and Executive communications and as the Executive Officer to the J6 Director, in September 2015 he reported to Naval Special Warfare Development Group for his second tour as the N6 Director.

In August 2018, after various special operations deployments to multiple theatres, Commander Perry reported to Special Operations Command Europe located in Stuttgart, Germany, as the J6X Non-standard Communications Division Chief.


Lt Col Reynaldo Champion | JCSE

Lieutenant Colonel Reynaldo Champion, Deputy Commander, Joint Communications Support Element, is responsible for deploying enroute, early-entry, scalable C4 support to the Regional Combatant Commands, Special Operations Command, and various agencies. He leads over 1,100 Army, Navy, Marine, and Air Force personnel on Active Duty, Reserve, National Guard and DOD civilians. Lieutenant Colonel Champion manages a 40 million dollar budget supporting operations in over 50 countries around the world.

Prior to his current assignment, he was the Commander, 6th Communications Squadron, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. He led more than 200 cyber operations personnel, supporting communications for over 19,000 people assigned to United States Central Command, United States Special Operations Command, the 6th Air Mobility Wing, 927th Air Refueling Wing, and 35 other tenant units, overseeing a budget of over $3.2 million.

Lieutenant Colonel Champion received his commission through Officer Training School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama in 2002. He has served in various leadership positions at the squadron, group, wing MAJCOM and Joint Staff.


2001    Bachelor’s degree in History with specialization in Computer Systems, University of Maryland, University College, Adelphi, MD

2002    Basic Communications Officer Training, Keesler AFB, MS

2006    Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, AL

2007    Master of Information Technology Management, Webster University, St. Louis, MO

2010    Advanced Communications Officer Training, Keesler AFB, MS

2012    Air Command and Staff College, Correspondence

2013    Air Force Fellow, Strategic Policy Intern, Washington DC

2017    Air War College, Correspondence


– Apr 2002 – Mar 2004, Contingency and Exercise Communications Officer, 608th Air Communications Squadron, Barksdale AFB, LA

– Apr 2004 – Apr 2007, Officer in Charge, Telecommunications Switch Security Assistance Program (TSSAP), Air Force Information Warfare Center, Lackland AFB, TX

– May 2007 – May 2008, CAOC Mission Support Flight Commander, Al Udeid AB, Qatar

– Jun 2008 – Jul 2009, Air Force Network Operations Action Officer, Headquarters Pacific Air Forces, Hickam AFB, Hawaii

– Jul 2009 – May 2012, Executive Communications Officer to the Commander, Pacific Air Forces, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii

– Jun 2012 – Jun 2013, Commander, 8th Communications Squadron, Kunsan AB, South Korea

– Jul 2013 – Jun 2014, Air Force Fellow, Strategic Policy Intern, DHS’s NCCIC and OSD/APSA East Asia office, Washington DC

– Jun 2014 – Jun 2016, Joint Staff J6 Action Officer, and then Executive Officer to the Vice Director J6, Pentagon, Washington DC

– Jul 2016 – Jul 2018, Commander, 6th Communications Squadron, MacDill AFB, Tampa FL

– Jul 2018 – Present, Deputy Commander, Joint Communications Support Element, Joint Enabling Capabilities Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa FL


Defense Meritorious Service Medal

Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters

Joint Service Commendation Medal

Air Force Commendation Medal with four oak leaf clusters

Joint Service Achievement Medal

Air Force Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters

Mary Ann Leslie | U.S. SOCOM J6/CIO Strategic Plans

Mary Ann Leslie is the Strategic Planning Branch Chief, in the Communications Systems Directorate (J6), at U.S. Special Operations Command.  Her team is responsible for publishing and measuring the SOF Information Environment (SIE) Strategic Plan, the SIE Roadmap, and other strategic messaging products. 

Mary Ann is a native of Pittsburgh, PA and a 1992 graduate of the United States Naval Academy where she earned her commission and a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. 

She served as an Information Professional with assignments at

Naval Computer and Telecommunications Stations in the United

States and overseas as well as Naval Network Warfare Command.

During her time in the Navy, Mary Ann stood up the first Pacific Region Network Operations Center and deployed on the USS ENTERPRISE (CVN-65) to four AORs supporting Maritime Security Operations, Theater Security Cooperation, OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, and OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM. 

Her leadership experience includes Officer in Charge, Naval Communications Detachment Chinhae, Korea; Intelligence Technology Directorate Operations Officer and Navy Element Commander at Joint Analysis Center, Molesworth, UK; Deputy N6 and Knowledge Manager on Commander, Carrier Strike Group Twelve; and Commanding Officer, Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station Bahrain. 

Mary Ann started her civil service career in September 2011 when she joined U.S. Special Operations Command as an IT Service Level Manager.  In June 2014 she was picked to establish the USSOCOM J6/CIO Strategic Planning Team.  She has been leading the Communications Contested Environment (CCE) Working Group since 2016.  Membership has expanded beyond SOF to include the Joint Electronic Warfare Command, Army Space and Missile Defense Command, and research & development agencies.   

Her education includes a Master’s Degree in Computer Resources and Information Management from Webster University, a Master’s Degree in Space Systems Operations from the Naval Postgraduate School, and the Federal CIO Certificate from the National Defense University. 

Mary Ann was recognized by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association for “Outstanding Operational Support” in 2015.  In 2016 she was selected to participate in the first class of the Special Operations Forces Civilian Leadership Development Program.


LtGen (Ret.) Lawrence Nicholson | U.S. Marine Corps

Lieutenant General Nicholson was born in Toronto, Canada, and is a 1979 graduate of the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina.  He holds a MS degree from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.  From 1980-1982, Lieutenant General Nicholson served as a Platoon and Company Commander in 3d Battalion, 1st Marines at Camp Pendleton, California.  From 1982-1985 he was assigned to Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, where he served as a Series and Company Commander.

Following Amphibious Warfare School at Quantico, Virginia in 1986, Lieutenant General Nicholson served as a Platoon Commander at Officers Candidate School until joining 3/7 in the fall of 1986.  He then served as a Rifle Company Commander for Lima 3/7 and subsequently Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 9th Marines until May of 1990.  From June 1990 to July 1993, Lieutenant General Nicholson served as a Company Officer and Instructor at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.  Following completion of the US Army Command and General Staff College in 1994, he was assigned to the Middle East as a United Nations Observer for UNTSO Palestine.  In 1995, he reported to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina as the Executive Officer of the Wolfpack, 2d Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion. 

In 1997, Lieutenant General Nicholson assumed the duties as the 2d Marine Division, G-3 Operations Officer until taking Command of the WARLORDS of 2d Battalion, 2d Marines in 1999.  Following a deployment to the Balkans with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, he was re-assigned in 2001, as the Executive Officer of the 2d Marine Regiment.  Upon graduation of the NATO Defense College in Rome, Italy in 2002, he was assigned to NATO HQ in Brussels, Belgium where he served as the Ground Forces Planner for the U.S. Military Delegation to NATO.  In July 2004, Lieutenant General Nicholson reported to the 1st Marine Division HQ at Camp Blue Diamond, Ramadi, Iraq, where he served as the Division G-3.  In July of 2005, he assumed command of the 5th Marine Regiment and deployed with them to Fallujah, Iraq in 2006.

As a General Officer, he has served as the Deputy CG for Marine Corps Combat Development Command at Quantico; the Commanding General of the 2d Marine Expeditionary Brigade in Helmand Province Afghanistan; the Senior Military Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense in Washington, DC; the Operations Officer for the ISAF Joint Command in Kabul, Afghanistan; the Commanding General of the 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, California; and the Commanding General of the III Marine Expeditionary Force in Okinawa, Japan.

SES (Ret.) John Wilcox | SOCOM J6 | Former CIO

Mr. John Wilcox is a senior defense communications leader with 36 years of experience in supporting Department of Defense (DoD) initiatives. He has worked with the highest echelons of DoD and has managed large budgets and global teams to develop, enact, and implement military information technology (IT) communications policy and procedures.

Mr. Wilcox comes from a distinguished career in the Senior Executive Service and United States Army, serving most recently as Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM), where he directed the complete lifecycle of Special Operations Forces (SOF) command, control, communications, and computers (C4) policy, doctrine, budget, acquisition, and operation to include Unclassified, Secret, TS/SCI, and SAP networks. He established direction and guidance for the worldwide operation, governance, and defense of the SOF information environment serving 80,000 users; supervised a global staff of 730 and executed an annual C4 budget of $1.2 billion; and worked with the Joint Staff, Services, combatant commands, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), and intelligence agencies on strategic policy, doctrine, and architecture.

Earlier, as SOCOM Director, C4 Systems, Mr. Wilcox directed the installation, operation, maintenance, and protection of the global Special Operations Force Information Environment, which provides voice, video, and data services to SOF forces. He led a diverse workforce of 240 military, government civilian, and enterprise contract personnel located at multiple locations, and he operated a $53 million annual IT operations and maintenance budget. He also oversaw a $78 million additional annual budget as part of the USSOCOM enterprise IT contract.

Mr. Wilcox was Commander of the US Army’s 160th Signal Brigade in Kuwait, which provided voice, video, and data services to joint and combined forces with the Central Command (CENTCOM) Area of Operations (AOR), including Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Qatar. He managed 2,100 soldiers, government civilians, and IT contractors staffing more than 40 wartime locations across the AOR and provided communications capability t deployed units including Inter and Intra Theater VTC, chat, and C2 systems.

Mr. Wilcox earned his BS in management from the University of Maryland, his MBA from Oklahoma City University, and his MS in strategic studies from Army War College. He received his Certificate of Strategy and Innovation from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and is a lifetime member of multiple organizations, including the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA), the Signal Corps Regimental Association (SCRA), and the Association of the US Army. Mr. Wilcox is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Presidential Senior Executive Service (SES) Rank Award, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, and two Bronze Stars.

Brigadier (Ret.) Mark Smethurst, DSC, AM | Australian Defence Forces

BRIG (Ret.) Smethurst joined the Army in January 1982 and is an Infantry graduate from the Royal Military College Duntroon, Australia. He served in a variety of command and staff appointments over 35 years. Of note he served with the Special Air Service Regiment for seven years, and commanded both the Special Forces Training Centre and the Australian Regular Commando Battalion.

Operationally, Mark commanded the ANZAC Special Operations Squadron Group during Operation POLLARD in Kuwait 1998. In 2002-03 he served as the Special Operations Planner, United States Central Command and then as the Deputy Commander of the Australian Special Operations Component in Iraq. As Commanding Officer of the Commandos, he commanded the Counter Terrorist Task Group during the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games; the Special Operations Task Group in Afghanistan, May-September 2006; the Apprehension Task Group in East Timor, March-April 2007, and the Counter Terrorist Task Group during the meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation organisation in Sydney, August-September 2007.

As a Brigadier, he served as the first Deputy Commander of Australian Special Operations Command late 2009 – October 2011, and then commanded the International Security Assistance Force Special Operations Forces in Afghanistan October 2011- October 2012. Mark then served in the United States from December 2012-December 2014, initially embedded with United States Central Command and from May 2012 at United States Special Operations Command as the Deputy Commander of Operations and the first embedded foreign staff officer in USSOCOM. During 2015-17 he was the Director General Defence Joint Force Analysis responsible for the ADF’s Joint Concepts, Experimentation, Lessons, Doctrine and Preparedness, departing Defence in Feb 17.

COL Wade Johnston | Army Futures Command | CIO

Colonel Wade Johnston received his commission as a 2nd Lt. from the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at the University of South Dakota in 1993. His assignments include the 304th Signal Battalion, Camp Red Cloud, South Korea; the 18th Field Artillery Brigade (ABN) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina; the 3rd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82d Airborne Division; the 75th Ranger Regiment; HHC, 82d Signal Battalion; the Mission Support Squadron; the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment – Delta; commander of the Mission Support Squadron; the J6 Chief of Operations for the Joint Special Operations Command; commander of the Joint Communications Unit; COL Johnston’s last assignment was the commander of the Joint Communications Support Element.

He is a graduate of the Signal Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, Combined Arms and Services Staff School, Command and General Staff College, Army War College, Basic Airborne School, Ranger School, Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape School, Military Freefall and Jumpmaster School.

Johnston’s awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Valorous Unit Award, and the Meritorious Unit Citation.

Johnston has been married to his wife, the former Ms. Ann Hauk, for 22 years and they have one son, Nathan.


MAJ Randall Linnemann | J3 | JCU

Major Randall “Randy” Linnemann is currently the Deputy Commanding Officer of the Joint Communications Unit. He serves as the principle advisor to the Commander for operations and logistics and supervises the daily administration and management of the organization. Prior to serving as the Deputy Commanding Officer, he was the Chief Operations Officer for the Joint Communications Unit, where he planned and supervised the unit’s operations (2017-2018).

Major Linnemann is originally from Cincinnati, Ohio; having attended Archbishop Moeller High School. He received his commission from the University of Dayton Reserve Officer Training Corps, and where graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English. He most recently graduated from the College of Naval Command and Staff, receiving a Masters of Arts in Strategic Studies from the United States Naval War College, Rhode Island.

Major Linnemann is a career Signal Officer with extensive experience in supporting special operations. He has previously served as the RS6, Chief Information Officer, of the 75th Ranger Regiment (2015-2017), the Deputy RS6 of the 75th Ranger Regiment (2013), the Battalion S6 of the 3rd Ranger Battalion (2011-2012), the Commander of the 3d Brigade, 10th Mountain Division Network Support Company (2009-2011), and the S6 of the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment assigned to 3rd Brigade 10th Mountain Division (2007-2009). He served as a Platoon Leader for the 10th Mountain Division Special Troops Battalion Network Support Company (2004-2007). Major Linnemann has deployed to combat in every job he has held, and has received multiple awards and decorations.

Major Linnemann currently lives near Fort Bragg, North Carolina with his wife, two kids, and three dogs.

Josh Kiihne | MITRE | Electrical Engineer

Josh started at MITRE in 2018 after completing a 20-year career in the Marine Corps. Working on Marine Corps Systems, Josh is currently focused on supporting both the Deputy Commandant for Information within the Innovation War Room where he leads a Kill Chain Analysis initiative and Marine Corps Systems Command through building a framework for implementing artificial intelligence technologies in Marine Corps Command and Control and Intelligence Systems. Josh is also the Technical Outcome Lead for artificial intelligence across MITRE’s Marine Corps Systems Department.

During his active duty time in the Marine Corps, Josh was an F/A-18D Weapons and Sensors Officer, the Combat Operations Center (COC) and Mobile Modular Command and Control (M2C2) Project Engineer, a South Asia Foreign Area Officer, and a South Asia Regional Area Officer. He served in Operations Noble Eagle, Southern Watch, Iraqi Freedom, and Enduring Freedom. He also deployed twice to the Western Pacific and supported numerous exercises in a variety of countries.

Josh holds master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering and Science and Technology Intelligence. He is a Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), GIAC Certified Forensic Analyst (GCFA), and Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) Level 3 Program Manager among other certifications.

Josh was born in California and grew up in Texas. He and his wife, Sarah, have lived in Virginia for the past 12 years. They have three young children: two girls and a boy.


Col Robert F. King | Air Force Life Cycle Management Center | Senior Materiel Leader

Colonel Robert Franklin King, “Bobby,” is the Senior Materiel Leader for the C3I Infrastructure Division, Hanscom Air Force Base, MA. The 800+ person Division is the program management office for the $6B AF Intranet, Information Transport System, Deployable Communications, and commoditized infrastructure programs. The Division delivers AF-wide network management and network defense solutions and fields the wired, wireless, and hosting infrastructure for over 300 AF and ANG installations worldwide.

Colonel King was commissioned in 1995 as a graduate of the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps at University of Arkansas. He’s held a variety of assignments in aircraft maintenance/munitions, information technology and space systems acquisitions, space systems programming, and satellite operations. This includes service as a Squadron Operations Officer, Materiel Leader for IT Infrastructure, and Space Operations Support Squadron Commander within the National Reconnaissance Office. He has also served in the Pentagon three times; first as an Air Force Intern, then as a Space Superiority Programmer and Executive Officer to the Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Plans and Programs (HAF/A8), and finally as Chief of the Information Technology, Cyber, and Business Systems Division, Information Dominance Programs, Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition. He deployed to Qatar in 2008 and served in the Combined Air and Space Operations Center on the Director of Space Forces (DIRSPACEFOR) staff where he was responsible for integrating space capabilities into combat operations.

Colonel King has four children; Parker, Kayla, Jonathan, and Naomi.


1995 Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, University of Arkansas

1997 Master of Business Administration, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University

2002 Master of Arts in Organizational Management, The George Washington University

2016 Master of Strategic Studies, Air War College, Air University


Jun 95 – Feb 97: F-16 Logistics Officer, Ogden Air Logistics Center, Hill AFB, UT

Mar 97 – Feb 98: Munitions Operations Flight Commander, Ogden Air Logistics Center, Hill AFB, UT

Mar 98 – May 01: Information Tech Program Manager, Standard Systems Group, Maxwell-Gunter AFB, AL

Jun 01 – Jun 02: Air Force Intern, Pentagon, Washington DC

Jul 02 – May 04: Chief, Concept Development Branch, Space Radar Joint Program Office, Los Angeles AFB, CA

Jun 04 – Jun 05: Executive Officer to Vice Commander, Space & Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles AFB, CA

Jul 05 – Jun 06: Flight Commander, Space Operations Squadron, National Reconnaissance Office

Jun 06 – Jun 08: Chief, Plans and Programs, Operations Support Squadron, National Reconnaissance Office

Jul 08 – Apr 09: Director of Operations, Space Operations Support Squadron, National Reconnaissance Office

May 09 – May 10: Space Superiority Programmer, Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Plans and Programs, Pentagon, Washington DC

Jun 10 – Jun 11: Executive Officer, Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Plans and Programs, Pentagon, Washington DC

Jul 11 – Jun 14: Commander, Operations Support Squadron, National Reconnaissance Office, Fort Belvoir, VA

Jul 14 – Jun 15: Material Leader, IT Infrastructure, National Reconnaissance Office, Chantilly, VA

Jul 15 – May 16: Student, Air War College, Maxwell AFB, AL

Jun 16 – Jun 17: Chief, IT, Cyber, & Business Systems Division, Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisitions, Pentagon, Washington DC

Jun 17 – Present: Senior Materiel Leader, C3I Infrastructure Division, Hanscom AFB, MA


Defense Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster

Air Force Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters

Joint Service Commendation Medal

Air Force Commendation Medal

Air Force Achievement Medal

COL (Ret.) John Conniff | ORock Technologies | COO

Conniff is the Chief Operating Officer of ORock Technologies, where he is responsible for the technical operations and customer satisfaction of cloud services designed for secure data operations of government and highly regulated industries. Within this environment, ORock is focused on delivering IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS solutions in compliance with FedRAMP and Department of Defense’s (DoD) accreditation standards. Prior to joining ORock Technologies, John completed a distinguished 25-year career as a Colonel in the United States Army. In John’s last assignment, he served in the DoD’s Chief Information Officer office where he was responsible for merging the multiple IT service providers within the Pentagon into one organization to achieve efficiencies while providing improved secure service to the DoD’s senior leadership. Prior to that assignment, John was the Deputy Director to the Joint Staff J6 and was responsible for IT Transformation to the Joint Staff by means of optimizing IT service delivery through new capabilities and efficient solutions. John’s diverse career includes leadership positions involving combat, peacekeeping, and humanitarian assistance operations.

CW3 Shawn Petermann | JCSE J6

CW3 Shawn Petermann is a native of Tucson, Arizona.  He entered active duty in May of 1996 as a 19K (armored crewman), in May of 2000, CW3 Petermann changed his military occupational specialty (MOS) to 25B (Information Systems Analyst); eight years later, in May of 2008, he was appointed Warrant Officer with the specialty of 255A (Information Systems Technician).  He has served in various leadership and technical positions throughout his career including M1A2 gunner, training non-commissioned officer (NCO), team chief, section sergeant, Automated Information Systems NCOIC, Information Systems Staff NCO, Combat Service Support Automation Management Office (CSSAMO) / Sustainment Automation Support Management Office  (SASMO) Officer-in-Charge (OIC), Brigade Signal Systems Technician, Data Systems Engineer, Chief of Engineering and most recently as the Technical Director/HSS J6 for the Joint Communications Support Element.

CW3 Petermann’s enlisted assignments include the Headquarters, 2nd Brigade and 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; 45th Corps Support Group (Forward), Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; 86th Signal Battalion, 11th Signal Brigade, Fort Huachuca, Arizona.  As a US Army Warrant Officer, CW3 Petermann’s assignments include the 115th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division and 4th Sustainment Brigade, 3rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), Fort Hood, Texas; the Joint Communications Unit, Joint Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina; and most recently the Joint Communications Unit (Airborne), Tampa, Florida.

CW3 Petermann has multiple deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom including 2006 with the 86th Signal Battalion, 3rd Signal Brigade; 2009 with the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division and 2011 with the 4th Sustainment Brigade, 310th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) along with numerous operational deployments in support of the Joint Special Operations Command.

CW3 Petermann’s awards and decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal (3OLC), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal (5OLC), Army Achievement Medal (3OLC), Good Conduct Medal (3rd Award), Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Meritorious Unit Citation (1OLC), Meritorious Volunteer Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal (4 campaigns), Overseas Service Ribbon with numeral 4, NCO Professional Development Ribbon with roman numeral 2, Korean Defense Service Medal, Drivers Badge and Parachutist Badge.

CW3 Petermann’s military schools include One-station unit training (19K), Primary Leadership Development Course, Advanced Individual Training (25B), Basic Non-Commissioned Officer Course, Army Recruiting Course, Basic Instructor Training, Army Equal Opportunity Leaders Course, Airborne School, Warrant Officer Candidate Course, Warrant Officer Basic Course – 255A and Warrant Officer Advanced Course – 255A.

CW3 Petermann’s certifications include Security+, Network+, CCNA, MCP, MCITP, MCSA 2008/2012, RCSA-W, RCSP-W, and CISSP #300100.

CW3 Petermann is married to the former Jacqueline Noel Pero and they have three children together: Shawn Bryant, 19; Bryce, 16 and Karina, 12.

David Cabrera | MITRE | Lead Cyber Operations Engineer

Dave completed a 27-year career in 2018 as the Senior Cyber Operations Engineer in the Marine Corps. As a Warrant Officer, he has served in units from tactical to garrison supporting communications worldwide. Units he has deployed with include Second Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (forward) and Marine Corps Network Operations Center as the OIC for Deployed Support to forward units.  While in the DC area, he has served with Marine Corps Systems Command, Marine Forces Cyberspace Command, and culminating with Deputy Commandant for Combat Development and Integration, Information Warfare Integration Division, as the Senior Technical Advisor in support of the development and integration of Cyberspace capabilities across fixed infrastructure and in tactical networks.

Over his career he has deployed to South America, Africa, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan and numerous other countries providing communications in support of operations and contingencies. 

Following retirement, Dave was brought into MITRE and is continues work on Marine Corps Systems. His focus is from the tactical perspective, with an emphasis on integrating evolving technologies that meet and exceed the needs of the warfighter. He also supports the Deputy Commandant for Information as it continues to develop and integrate capabilities across the Information Environment.

Dave has a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Science and has various technical and programmatic certifications. He is married and lives in Virginia with his wife Ruby. They have three adult children: Melany, David and Ashley and four grandchildren: Bella, Sammy, Elena and Christina.

Jeff Watkins | National Security Agency | Communications Director, CSfC

Jeff Watkins currently serves as the Communications Director for the National Security Agency’s Commercial Solutions for Classified (CSfC) program. CSfC is part of NSA’s encryption solution strategy, which leverages current commercial technology and industry innovation to deliver secure cybersecurity solutions. At the forum, Jeff will highlight the NSA’s most current updates on the program as well as take questions from delegates throughout the forum.  

Jeff graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Maryland University College in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Systems Management.  

During his 35-year career at NSA Mr. Watkins has developed and deployed numerous special purpose secure voice interfaces, provided information system security engineering support to the Combatant Commands/Military Services/Agencies, and managed the certification of cross domain solutions to meet Warfighters’ requirements. Jeff also served in the field as NSA’s Liaison to the Defense Information Systems Agency.

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