The handicapper's guide to the FOSE conference

One path to an overview of government IT, though your interests could take you in other directions

The exhibit floor at this year’s FOSE 2010 trade show at the Washington Convention Center from March 23 to March 25 will, as usual, showcase a lot of the latest government information technology products. Many of those products, we hear, will be introduced into the market for the first time at FOSE. But the crux of government IT is more than technology; it's how agencies apply, manage and secure that technology. That's where the FOSE conference schedule comes in.

And if the FOSE conference isn't enough for you, GovSec, which exhibits the latest in physical and IT security products, will be taking place adjacent to FOSE at the convention center during the first two days. 1105 Government Information Group, which publishes GCN, runs both shows.

There's no way one person can take in all of it, especially while cruising the floor to check out the technology. So we've developed a handicapper's guide as an overview of what's available. Of course, this is just one route you could take. Your choice of sessions will depend on your particular interest, so you should check out the full schedule. For the rest, follow GCN's coverage of FOSE online at and keep tabs on our instant observations on Twitter at @govcomputernews.

One place to begin is the FOSE conference. The conference was added to the trade show last year and has been expanded this year, focusing on five high-interest subject areas:

  • Track 1: Information management and data centers.
  • Track 2: Cybersecurity and information assurance.
  • Track 3: Next-generation government: Gov 2.0 and beyond.
  • Track 4: Defense innovations, presented with the Association for Enterprise Information.
  • Track 5: Breakthroughs and best practices.
Each track will string together five subject-specific panel presentations, beginning at 10:15 a.m. March 23, and conclude with all-day tutorial sessions March 25. Each session will feature experts or executives from a long list of federal agencies.

The FOSE Expo is free to government employees, military and government contractors. The conference is not. A two-day ticket costs $245 for government employees and $345 for nongovernment employees and an extra $50 if you register on-site. Details about each session are available at

But for anyone who wants to get an overall sense of what's going on in government IT, here's our pick of sessions that you should attend.


8 a.m.-9a.m., Bill Bratton, former police chief of Los Angeles, New York City and Boston and chairman of Altegrity Risk International. Keynote. Room 146 A/B.

9 a.m.-10 a.m., Anthony E. Zuiker, creator and executive producer of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.” Keynote: “Cross Platforming: A Visionary's Use of Technology." Room 146 A/B.

10:15 a.m.-11:15 a.m., “Social Media, Web 2.0 and DOD: Clash of the Titans,” by Jack Holt, the Defense Department's strategist for emerging media. Room 150A. How — and how not — to use social media is becoming an increasingly hot topic in government, and few agencies have tested the waters as extensively as those at DOD.

11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Steven R. Chabinsky, deputy assistant director, FBI. Keynote. Room 146 A/B.

2:30 p.m.-3:45 p.m., “The Road to Extreme Application Development,” by Colleen Coggins, chief information officer of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and Tim Schmidt, chief technology officer of the Transportation Department. Room 150B. This might not be a session for every attendee, but developers should take note.


9 a.m.-10 a.m., Candy Crowley, CNN senior political correspondent and anchor of "State of the Union with Candy Crowley." Keynote. Room 146 A/B,

10:15 a.m.-11:15 a.m., “Securing the Mobile Workforce: Protecting Information on Laptops, PDAs, Mobile and Smart Phones,” by David W. Stender, the Internal Revenue Service's associate CIO for cybersecurity. Room 145A. Like it or not, employees expect to be able to work via mobile devices. How to keep those devices safe is a topic for every agency.

2 p.m.-3 p.m., “Understanding the Key Security and Risk Management Issues of Cloud Computing,” by Peter Mell, chairman of the Federal Cloud Computing Security Working Group. Room 147A. The cloud offers a lot of advantages to enterprises, but it also comes with risks that might not ever go away entirely. That's why managing risk is so important.

2:30 p.m., GCN Best of FOSE Awards. GCN announces our selection of the best new government IT products at FOSE at the GSA Alliant Pavilion theater.

3:15 p.m.-4:30 p.m., “Government Agencies Leverage Social Media in a Web 2.0 World: Trials and Triumphs,” by Emma Antunes, information technology specialist and Web manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, and George Clack, new media publishing consultant and former director of publications at the State Department's Bureau of International Information Programs. Room 147B. Lessons learned from the social media scrum.


11 a.m.-noon, Martha Johnson, administrator of the General Services Administration. Keynote. 146 A/B


If you really want to get into the weeds, there are several all-day tutorials on security and other subjects.

From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Rob Lee, an instructor at the SANS Technology Institute, will present “Forensic Fundamentals.”

Thursday will feature five tutorials, each running from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. They include subjects such as “Social Media 101: Putting Social Media to Work for Your Organization,” and “Cutting-edge Hacking Techniques,” presented by SANS' John Stand.

There will also be a series of free demonstration and discussion pavilions on the show floor. Among the themes: What’s next in DNS Security Extensions, international issues and initiatives on cybersecurity, and a state and local government pavilion.

About the Author

Kevin McCaney is a former editor of Defense Systems and GCN.


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