In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sea-Air-Space 2020, which was set to be one of the year’s premier maritime expositions, was forced to transition from its typical National Harbor venue into the virtual domain, using partnerships with FedInsider and WJLA 24/7 to bring would-be attendees some of the insights they would have been able to hear at the conference.
And indeed, as in previous years, Sea-Air-Space 2020 showed its ability to bring together a substantial number of military decision makers for the benefit of its audience by streaming and broadcasting interviews with notables such as Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz; Adm. James Foggo, Commander of Naval Forces Europe and Africa and Allied Joint Force Command, Naples; Rear Adm. David Hahn, Chief of Naval Research; and James Guerts, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition, among others.
To help our readers understand how Sea-Air-Space 2020 pulled off a virtual conference, and get a sense of what was covered, The Modern Battlespace editorial team pulled together coverage of how the Navy League and its partners executed their virtual event and what viewers can take away from it now that it has ended.
Discussions Focus on COVID-19
Across the virtual panels and interviews managed by moderator Francis Rose, Host of WJLA 24/7’s Government Matters television show, conversations necessarily addressed how the military is dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.
Whether it was Coast Guard Commandant Karl Schultz or James F. Geurts, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition, the focus that came across all the maritime services was that the branches are putting in place measures to preserve core capabilities and modernization efforts.
Said Adm. Schultz, “readiness was my focus coming in, has been my focus, [and COVID-19] throws different challenges at readiness from a long ball point of view, but our priority today is to attenuate the challenges facing the nation.”
Virtual Sea-Air-Space 2020 also offered insight into where the maritime services may be going in the years to come.
Leaders Look Out to Future Capabilities
Alongside COVID-19 discussions though, panelists also gave viewers a look at new technological frontiers that the services are pursuing, including artificial intelligence and C5ISR assets like sensors on the edge. According to Gregg Kendrick, Executive Director of Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace command, both industry and the warfighters on the tactical edge have a part in fostering their development.
Gregg Kendrick @USMC Cyberspace Command: Warfighter commanders are the tactical edge & industry providing insight on needs and capabilities: https://t.co/Gfdy5Lxtwd @NavyLeagueUS @FedInsider @SAICinc #SAS2020 @GovMattersTV
— Peg Hosky (@PegHosky) April 17, 2020
Sea-Air-Space 2020 Is On Demand
By moving the conference to a virtual setting, the Navy League and its media partners found a way to give viewers a value add over even what they would have had if the conference had been in person—the ability to watch all panels on demand, and at your own pace, and being able to pause, rewind or fast forward to get all that is possible out of panelists’ remarks.
Don’t worry if you miss a day of #SAS2020. All panel discussions from Sea-Air-Space; Virtual Edition are available on the Navy League website for your viewing pleasure! You can even watch it again, if you so desire and sign up for future webinars! https://t.co/WvjgXR2NjR
— Sea Air Space (@SeaAirSpace) April 17, 2020
To go back and review any of Sea-Air-Space’s panels, click here.
Eyes Turn to Next Year
In the closing interview of this virtual conference, the Navy League’s national executive director, MCPON (Ret.) Mike Stevens, wrapped up the Virtual Sea-Air-Space 2020 by casting an eye out to next year in the hopes that the Navy League and conferees could once again come together in person.
Said Stevens, the Sea-Air-Space 2020 had been shaping up to be “the best expo we’ve ever had,” but that all of the synergies, planning, and relationships that the Navy League had built for it will be applied to next year’s conference, which is set to start on April 14, 2021.