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West 2010 begins Tuesday; 10,000 estimated to attend

Leaders from the defense industry, government and military will join this week for West 2010, a three-day conference begining Tuesday co-hosted by the Armed Forces Electronics and Communications Association (AFCEA) International and the U.S. Naval Institute.

The annual free event, located at the San Diego Convention Center, will attract an estimated 10,000 attendees this year.

The conference includes three days of panel discussions, lectures, luncheons, exhibits and opportunities to network.

About 400 exhibitors will be available during the conference, highlighting their technologies.

"We're very excited because that number is on par with last year," said Tobey Jackson, director of marketing and public relations for AFCEA International.

This year's theme is "Smart Power: Does the QDR get it right?"

The Department of Defense released Monday the 2010 QDR, or Quadrennial Defense Review, among other reports. It will be the overarching topic of discussion during the conference.

West 2010 aims to focus on current issues, Jackson said. The timely release of the QDR fits into that goal.

Though this event is an AFCEA International event, the association's local chapter takes an active role in the conference.

Both the small business committee and the veterans retraining initiative planned sessions during the conference for their respective target audiences.

A Small Business Training Forum will look at issues especially important to small businesses with a focus on technology to include cyber warfare, cloud computing and convergence technologies.

Sessions include looking at a vision for the future, convergence, meeting the prime contractors and a technology roundtable discussion.

But before getting into the technology talks, there will be a forum on leveraging government small business resources.

"We wanted to kick it off by having representatives from SPAWAR small business office and SBA to give an update to the attendees about the different things available to them on the business side because that piece is important," said Benito Hobson, AFCEA San Diego vice president for small business.

The Veterans' Retraining Initiative, a new program started by the local chapter, will host three events of its own that cater to service members transitioning out of the military.

VRI sessions include discussing transition from a veteran's perspective, what veterans need to know about the corporate community and a career fair on Wednesday, where transitioning veterans can seek employment.

Dave Dickey, VRI chairman, said more than 40 employers will attend the fair with jobs to offer. Many will conduct on-site interviews with veterans.

Also part of West 2010 is a series of Team SPAWAR presentations in the exhibit area.

SPAWAR and Connect together will present panels on medical records programs.

The Military Officers Association of America will present several sessions to include discussions about the new GI Bill, military benefits, transitioning out of the military and keys to a successful retirement.

Other conferences at the Convention Center coinciding with West 2010 include the National Institute for Urban Search and Rescue "Smart-Ups" Summit 2010, ComDef West 2010: "Advancing Force Multiplicity," and the Navy SATCOM Users Workshop.

Online registration for West 2010 remains open through Thursday afternoon.

Onsite registration also is available. Limited tickets are available for the daily lunches and Wednesday breakfast.

More information can be found at www.afcea.org/events/west/10/introduction.asp.

Send your comments to erin.bridges@sddt.com

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