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Defense contractors group chooses speakers for defense summit

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The Charleston Defense Contractors Association, a nonprofit advocacy group for the defense industry in Charleston, has selected the speakers for its 11th annual summit, themed “Powered by Technology, Energized by Community.”

The summit, scheduled for Dec. 5-8 at the Charleston Area Convention Center, is expected to draw approximately 1,500 experts in the defense and technology fields.

“It’s not just about networking, it’s about sharing lessons learned, ideas, etc.,” said Peter Singer, a strategist at New America, a political think tank, and the keynote speaker at the summit.

“The information sharing that comes from bringing together government agencies and defense business partners is vital to our future,” he added.

Singer said he plans to speak about the way the world is changing regarding technology and security, “not just in terms of what’s going to happen tomorrow or the next month or the next business quarter or even the next year, but rather the big, sweeping changes that are out there for us over the next five to 10 years plus.”

The changes, he said, include robotics, artificial intelligence and 3-D printing and are on par with the advent of the steam engine or the computer.

“They’re having impacts in both the classic military or defense space, but simultaneously on the civilian side, so they’re changing both worlds,” Singer said. “So you have that story of technology and the ripple effects it has on the military, that it has on the economy at large.”

Other speakers at the summit will include Rear Adm. Christian Becker, commander of Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic; Dan Craytor, chief technology officer of U.S. public sector services at Microsoft; Joseph Opacki, vice president of threat research, analysis and intelligence at PhishLabs; and Capt. Geno Paluso, commandant of cadets at The Citadel.

The winners of the seventh annual Mobile Application Development Competition will also be announced during the summit. The competition, which is open through Nov. 15, allows students from middle school to college to design their own app. More than $10,000 in awards and scholarships are available for winners of the competition, which is judged by conference attendees.

Reach Patrick Hoff at 843-849-3144.

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