FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (Aug. 19, 2008) - Despite the blustery weather brought on by Tropical Storm Fay, the opening conference of the 2008 LandWarNet Conference at the Broward County Convention Center was filled to capacity, leaving dozens of people to stand along the wall.

Attendees from around the globe - both military and industry - attended the opening of a conference that focuses on information technology capabilities. The LWN Conference has grown significantly over the past couple of years, with the registered number of attendees growing to more than 5,000. Members of the Army's Signal Regiment, from brigades, battalions, commands and directorates arrived from around the globe to attend this professional development opportunity.

"This is a conference that has taken a lot of other conferences and put them all together," said Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Sorenson, Army Chief Information Officer/G-6.

The focus of much of the conference, Sorenson said, is to see what the Army is going through in information technology, and what it means to the Warfighter. The conference itself is comprised of several plenary sessions, different track sessions, panels, and key speakers canvassing a vast array of IT issues within the Army. Senior leaders from a number of organizations - Army, Joint, Defense and industry - play key roles in the sessions intended to give attendees more information, provide feedback, and make contacts to assist them in their IT missions.

This aspect of Army operations has become a "front-and-center" issue, with the current incidents in the Republic of Georgia, Sorenson said. More than a few media outlets reported the cyber attacks on Georgian web sites and servers preceding the ground attack.

It is also an opportunity for attendees to interact with exhibitors, and gain knowledge on new and emerging technologies that may have practical applications in Army systems. Sorenson recalled when his own sergeant major, Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald Desjardins, was walking through the exhibits on the show floor and discovered a piece of technology that would assist deployed Soldiers in staying in contact with their families back home; it is now a feature of Army Knowledge Online.

Sorenson emphasized at the end of his remarks that the Soldier must remain at the forefront of people's minds.

"Everything we do today is to improve situational awareness for the Soldiers."