Talking AOC 56 with Convention Host Sponsor BAE Systems
By John Haystead, JED Senior Editor
BAE Systems (Nashua, NH) is the Host Sponsor for this year’s 56th AOC International Symposium and Convention. As such, JED felt it appropriate to talk with the company about its strong support for the symposium and what its expectations are for this year’s event. In response, Lisa Frugé-Cirilli, Director of Customer Requirements and Advocacy for BAE Electronic Systems as well as AOC Immediate Past President, says the reasons are many.
“BAE Systems has been the AOC Host Convention Sponsor for the last three years, and it’s more important than ever for BAE, the AOC, and its members to collaborate with each other, educate and advocate for new advanced technology and to mentor our leaders of tomorrow. BAE has been very fortunate to have representation in AOC leadership for many years, serving in capacities ranging from the Board of Directors to President of the Association.” In fact, this week during the show, AOC will recognize Glenn "Powder" Carlson, Electronic Attack Capability Group Lead within BAE Systems Electronic Combat Solutions, as AOC President Elect.
As described by Frugé-Cirilli, BAE’s expectations for this year’s event are as high as ever, if not more so. “As always, BAE’s main objective for our participation at the annual AOC National Symposium is to build and maintain relationships. Customers do business with people they trust. But, that said, every one of us needs to think about the future of electronic warfare and the EMS. Our BAE electronic warfare heritage is rich with passion and history, but it’s not something simply shared in a passive conversation or a quick tweet. As EW ambassadors, it is our duty to educate, inform and mentor to ensure that we are equipping the future generation with the talent required to enrich the pipeline of scientists, technicians and engineers.” This, says Frugé-Cirilli, is why BAE is particularly proud to be part of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) section of the convention. “It is extremely critical that we participate in this event.”
In describing their focus for this year, Frugé-Cirilli says that BAE always strives to leverage the AOC Convention to increase awareness of its capabilities in integrated solutions addressing aircraft self-protection, threat awareness, situational awareness, and denying and degrading enemy weapon systems and their networks. Recognizing that this year’s symposium theme is “Building the EMS Enterprise,” she notes that, “We will, of course, have our Electronic Combat and Survivability and Targeting Solutions, as well as our “Fast Labs” R&D group, represented at our booth. Prime examples of technology and/or weapons platforms that we will be talking to this year will run the gamut, including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, U-2, F-15 and its new Eagle Passive Active Warning Survivability System (EPAWSS) and Digital Electronic Warfare Suite (DEWS), Compass Call, fiber-optic towed decoy (FOTD) technology, and all of our missile warning and countermeasures capabilities.”
And, she emphasizes, “We’re also particularly excited this year to be adding representation from our small business organization, providing outreach to potential new vendors or teammates. In addition, we’ll also have talent-acquisition representation at the show, and will be participating in this year’s career fair at the show talking about the different openings and opportunities currently available at BAE.”
Overall, Frugé-Cirilli observes that the level of participation garnered by AOC conferences, and in particular the AOC Annual Convention, is “absolutely phenomenal.” Noting that they expect to see customers and potential customers from all of the Services – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard, she expands that, “These will be actual operators and users, and all the way up to senior leadership. And, for us, there are also customers in the vein of other vendors.”
Pointing out that the AOC is a global organization, Fruge-Cirilli observes that there is also typically a high-level of international attendance “with representation from over 20 nations, coming to learn more about the different technologies that they will be seeing in the exhibit hall, listening to the sessions and topics being discussed, and taking this knowledge back to their home countries to share with their peers. There is also legislative leadership in attendance including, this year, Nebraska Congressman Donald Bacon.” Congressman Bacon is also a retired United States Air Force Brigadier General and a former Electronic Warfare Officer.
Ultimately, Frugé-Cirilli says that BAE sees the value of attending conferences like the AOC Annual Symposium as “priceless." "You’re surrounded by people in the same community and have the opportunity to talk to many customers over a vast variety of areas of expertise. It’s always valuable to compare notes. You never know what you’re going to learn, and never know who you’ll run into.”