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AFCEA WEST 2020 Recap: Interesting insights from this year’s Navy conference

Q&A with Ingram Micro public sector leader Tony Celeste

April 06, 2020

AFCEA WEST 2020 Recap: Interesting insights from this year’s Navy conference
Every year, AFCEA’s premier Navy conference and exposition on the West Coast—called WEST—brings military and industry together to explore current and future naval platforms and technologies. This year’s event, WEST 2020, was held March 2-3 in San Diego and gave hundreds of attendees an opportunity to explore the latest military advances in technology.
What was unique about this year’s event?

AFCEA WEST 2020 Q&A with Tony Celeste, executive director & general manager public sector, Ingram Micro

Q. What was your overall impression of AFCEA WEST 2020?
The show was absolutely great! Considering the growing concerns over coronavirus—and how many companies are cancelling attendance of large meetings—I was surprised to see how many people were there. The keynote speakers, discussions and opportunities to network with decision-makers were excellent, as usual.
Q. Did anything surprise you?
Actually, the big surprise for me was seeing the tremendous level of collaboration and heightened level of engagement between the military community, reseller partners, system integrators and OEM manufacturers—all across the board. There was a lot more collaboration that we typically see at this Navy conference, which speaks to everyone’s desire to work with one another. In the past, people were often more interested in promoting their own technologies versus promoting fully integrated solutions. There appears to be a lot more interdependence now. It was a strong acknowledgement that no single vendor or integrator can meet all of the needs in the marketplace today.
Q. How did AFCEA WEST 2020 benefit resellers?
If reseller partners attended the popular keynote sessions and moderated panel discussions, they walked away with valuable insights about DOD mission priorities, what the DOD hopes to gain from technology solutions, the growing importance of addressing cybersecurity threats, and what type of support DOD agencies need from the vendor and system integrator communities.
If partners also attended the Women in AFCEA Appreciation Event, they would have heard a unique perspective from Brigadier General Lorna Mahlock, Director, Command, Control, Communications and Computers (C4) and the Deputy Department of the Navy Chief Information Officer of the Marine Corps.
Q. Did you see any new solutions or technologies you were impressed by?  
I wouldn’t say new technologies, as much as maturing technologies. We continue to see a rounding out of IT capabilities and how they make a difference in supporting national security and military priorities. The lines between operational technology and information technology continue to blur. They are becoming far more integrated with each other, which benefits all of the networked systems, but can also increase the possibility of new cybersecurity threats. Cybersecurity threats were a hot topic at WEST 2020—it’s the battleground of utmost concern for today’s military agencies.  
For more information on how to implement what you learned at AFCEA WEST 2020 and where to go from here, reach out to the Ingram Micro public sector team.