AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Destination Augusta has announced the 10th anniversary of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) TechNet Augusta Conference.

Those in attendance say this is the second biggest event of the year in Augusta-right behind the Masters in April.

The main goal is to raise awareness and making sure the U-S Army is protected from a cyber attack.

The AFCEA also discusses the latest and greatest technologies in cyber security.

But as VP of Defense Michael Black says, cyber safety goes beyond the CSRA. 

“Cyber security is national security. We’ve heard the commander of U.S. CyberCom say that before. So, if you’re involved in any aspect of cyber security, you’re involved in national security. And if you’re involved in national security, you’re involved in protecting our nation,” said Black.

This year the theme is “Enabling a Data-Centric Army.” And there are a few key topics that will be discussed. 

“We’re looking at topics like zero trust, protection of infrastructure, and cyber workforce development. There’s also the education aspect. Young soldiers, sailors, air force, airmen, marines, civilians, coast guard men: they’re able to get educational credits,” said Black.

Altogether, the conference will bring 5,000 attendees to the Augusta Convention Center, and it’s expected to bring in close to $4 Million dollars.

Over the course of their 10 years in Augusta, TechNet has generated $20.8 million, and has had over 33,000 attendees.

The primary spending is seen in area hotels, short-term rentals, transportation, local restaurants, and in many small businesses.

Eric Gladman is among those attendees, and says at the end of the day, cyber security needs to be a priority for those in this area. 

“Everything touches cyber. You can’t get around it. Every school, everything touches the internet. That’s why the industry is here today because they got new technologies that can assist the military, but also our community here in the CSRA.” said Gladman.

The conference will continue throughout the rest of this week.

To find more information on scheduling and times, you can download the TechNet Augusta 2023 app in the App Store, or you can visit the website here.