This week, the AOC Diamondhead Chapter is holding its 12th Annual Pacific Information Operations and Electronic Warfare Symposium. It seemed like a good opportunity to talk with Chapter President Dr. Arthur “Art” Tulak, a retired US Army colonel, who has been part of the chapter’s leadership team for many years. We discussed the history or the Diamondhead Chapter, where it draws its members and some of its major activities.
JED: When was the Diamondhead Chapter created and who were some of the people in the group of chapter founders?
AT: The Diamond Head Chapter started as a Club at Hickam AFB, on June 17, 1967, where the organizational founding documents were signed. Maj, Gerald E. Sensabaugh Jr., USAF, was the first president. Gerald would retire as a Colonel.
One of our most famous members from the early days of the Chapter is Maj Gen Rockly Triantafellu, USAF, who was a Life Member of the AOC and a member of the Diamond Head Club. He joined the AOC, and the Hawaii Club (Chapter) on October 1, 1973. A veteran of WWII and Vietnam, he was assigned to Headquarters Pacific Air Forces, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, in August 1966 as deputy chief of staff for intelligence, and he remained in that position until July 1969, when he became deputy assistant chief of staff for intelligence, Headquarters, USAF. In November 1969, he became assistant chief of staff for intelligence, Headquarters USAF, the position from which he retired from the Air Force in 1972. Afterward, he returned to Hawaii, where he joined the Diamond Head Club (now chapter).
JED: Many of the chapter’s members are active duty personnel representing all of the Services. How does this shape the chapter’s culture?
AT: Having chapter members who are serving military commissioned and warrant officers, as well as many non-commissioned officers, helps us to better connect with the practitioners of EW and IO who comprise the communities around whom we focus our activities and programs. Over the last several years, the Chapter President has been a serving commissioned officer, either O-4 or O-5, who holds a billet in a 39 staff, or is in an IO or EW unit. Many of our Chapter members from industry and academia are retired military who came from the IO and EW communities, and this combination makes a good team that makes the chapter relevant to the Active and Reserve military we support. Our chapter is recognized by the INDOPACOM J39 as a great resource and reliable partner, representing the professions of IO and EW.
JED: One of the chapter’s main activities is the Annual Pacific IO & EW Symposium. How does this event support INDOPACOM’s mission, and what are some of the major themes of this year’s Symposium?
AT: The annual Pacific IO & EW symposium co-sponsored by the AOC and USINDOPACOM directly supports the allied and partner military engagement programs of the military commands under USINDOPACOM. This year we have over 90 officer and defense civilian employees from 14 different countries attending in-person, and many more will participate virtually for the UNCLASSIFIED plenary sessions. The first year of this annual event in 2012, we had about 112 participants in total. This year, attendance has again set new attendance records with 450 in-person and 172 virtual participants.
The INDOPACOM J39 has relied on chapter volunteers for many years to plan and conduct this event. We have typically between 18 and 20 planning meetings leading up to the symposium, with chapter members in attendance. Many of our chapter members are working for industry and are posted across several of the USINDOPACOM Service Component Commands and Special Operations Command Pacific. Accordingly, they are able to ensure we have a broad understanding of the challenges and current efforts of the IO and EW staffs and units. The symposium is the main event for our chapter, and our members play key roles in both planning and execution. This year we have 20 Chapter volunteers helping to run it.
JED: What are some of the other events and activities that the chapter supports?
AT:Beyond the required meetings of the chapter, and our participation in the symposium planning meetings, we run a scholarships program and organize attendance at related events and conferences in Hawaii. With the support of our Chapter Sponsors, Peraton and Chesapeake Technology Intl., we are able to award scholarships to university students who are pursuing degrees or careers related to cyber, EMS and information operations. These are presented annually at the symposium. Last year we awarded $4,000 in scholarships, and this year will award $5,8000 in scholarships. Over the last year, chapter members participated in local events, such as the annual Hawaii Tech Series at Camp Smith and the C5I Forum at Fort Shafter. We have also travelled out of the state to events such as the Naval Postgraduate School’s Symposium on Information Strategy and Political Warfare in Monterey, Calif., and the OSD Phoenix Challenge Conferences in London and Atlanta, Ga.
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