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Hanscom PEOs, customers, slated to speak at virtual New Horizons capstone

Acquisition innovation highlighted at New Horizons

Steve Wert, Air Force program executive officer for Digital, at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., speaks to attendees at New Horizons in Newton, Mass., in March 2020. This year's New Horizons capstone event will be virtual, take place over two weeks and include presentations by all three of Hanscom's PEOs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Maki)

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Hanscom’s three program executive officers will once again be key participants in this year’s New Horizons event in March, despite the activity looking a bit different for 2021.

The Lexington-Concord chapter of AFCEA, which sponsors the event, has been running a New Horizons Speaker Series for a number of months, and the March event is the capstone. To accommodate as many virtual participants as possible, the event will take place over two separate weeks; the first days will be March 17-18 while the second sessions will take place March 23-25.

The theme for this year’s event is “Accelerating Change -- Strengthening Partnerships --Securing the Future,” and organizers have asked presenters to address how their organization and work fits into Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr.’s strategic approach of Accelerate Change or Lose.

“It’s a dynamic time in the Air Force,” said Scott Hardiman, deputy PEO for Nuclear Command, Control and Communications. “This conference is a great opportunity to update industry on the fast-paced changes occurring throughout many of the Hanscom Air Force Base programs.”

On March 17, Maj. Gen. Michael Schmidt, Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks PEO, and some of C3I&N’s senior materiel leaders will address the audience. The keynote speaker that day will be Adm. Charles Richard, commander, U.S. Strategic Command. Prior to these speakers, a panel of former commanders from the former Air Force Electronic Systems Division and the Electronic Systems Center, each headquartered at Hanscom, will talk about “Leading in Times of Great Change.”

New for this year will be “Fireside Chats,” where the PEOs speak with some of their customers. PEO C3I&N’s chat will be on March 18. Also speaking that day will be Randall Walden, director and PEO for the Air Force Rapid Capability Office. An industry panel on “Embracing the Digital Trinity” is slated as well.

As the event traditionally brings together government, industry partners and more, this year’s event will allow those participating to discuss how to accelerate change, the associated new business opportunities, and the way forward to ensure the U.S. Air Force will continue to be the world’s premier air force, remaining ahead of global competitors to secure the future.

“To make New Horizons possible this year, we brought together a great team to quickly pivot from in-person to virtual,” said Chapter President Kevan Kivlan, also a director for the General Services Administration. “This change should allow for a wider audience to participate.”

The second week, Steven Wert, PEO for Digital and some of that organization’s senior materiel leaders will speak March 23. On March 24, Digital’s Fireside Chat will take place, and an innovation panel on “Accelerating Change Across the Services,” will occur.

On March 25, the Air Force PEO for NC3 Col. Amanda Kato will speak about her organization and its work, along with the NC3 “Fireside Chat.”

“We’re hoping that it’s a chance to bring together the community,” said Jamie Thurber, AFCEA Lexington-Concord Chapter first vice president and New Horizons chair. “We’ve all been isolated due to COVID for quite some time, and we hope that we’ll all be able to share in both the future endeavors and the rich history of Hanscom, with new and former leaders taking the stage at different times.”

The event is free for military and government personnel, but registration is required. Personnel can register at https://www.afcealexcon.org/.

For more information about this New Horizons capstone event, contact Claire Goulet at 617-281-4129.