Defense Conference to Spotlight Social Media, Security Capabilities

Anyone who has turned on a TV or browsed the Web can tell you that the virtual world can be a dangerous place.  That's especially true for social media, where hacktivist groups, cybercriminals and foreign governments mingle under the cover of cyber-anonymity. Now US military and computer security professionals have to add another threat to its list: social media-savvy rogue governments and terrorist groups like Al Shabaab and The Taliban.

One think-tank is bringing together leading experts in the fields of defense and social media to counter the message of violence that terrorist groups spread on Twitter and Facebook and make sure they don't get another chance to, now or ever.

The Institute for Defense and Advanced Government recently announced its 5th Annual Social Media for Defense Conference is set to take place May 21 through the 23rd in Washington, D.C.

Featured speakers include Lee Case, Web Risk Assessment Team Lead for the US Navy, Air Force Public Affairs Officer Tanya Montgomery, Lindy Kyzer of Lindy Kyzer communications, OhMyGov's CEO, Andrew Einhorn and many more.

Topics of discussion will include the use of social media to counter terrorism, social media security, IT security and communications, and social media branding.

"The feedback has been extremely positive!" said marketing manager Katrina Corns.  "Attendees are excited to hear OPSEC [Operations Security] and USCERT speak, as well as hear updates from Juanita Chang," the Army's Director of Social Media.

In addition to a plethora of platforms at the event, the social media presence is more tightly integrated than ever before.  IDGA representatives are reaching out to attendees via LinkedIn and Slideshare, and bloggers are being courted to liveblog the event as well.

But the focus is, and remains, enabling the military to navigate the web of social media platforms that pop up every single day.

"There's more of a focus on operational security [this year]," Corns said.  "We're tackling challenges that the DOD/government are facing with the new platforms that are cropping up on a daily basis.  We are also speaking of how the military is integrating social media more into its day to day use to keep warfighters close to home."

Though a venue has not been disclosed, the event is expected to take place in the D.C. metro area. Though the event is dress casual, military personnel are requested to attend in their dress uniforms. The full cost of attendance is $1835 for an all-access pass, though attendees who sign up before Mar. 23 could receive a 10% discount.

Registration for the event is available via the IDGA's website.  Prospective attendees can also keep track of the even via Twitter at @socialmedia4def.  Attendees can also register via phone at 1-800-882-8684 or mail their information to IDGA's offices at 535 5th Avenue, 8th Floor, New York, NY  10017.

Industry professionals made up the bulk of attendees in 2011; 42 percent according to the brochure, followed closely by government and Army officials.

Billed as the 'forefront of ideas and topics that are affecting the DOD/government', the Social Media for Defense Conference is the first of its kind focusing exclusively on issues affecting soldiers, sailors and military professionals working with or on social media.  The initial conference in 2007 saw 40 attendees--a fraction of the military and civilian attendees who attended last year.

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