Military Communications Conference
30 October – 3 November 2023 // Boston, MA, USA
Communications Supporting Military Operations in a Contested Environment


Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Time:  AM

Jennifer Yates

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Jennifer Yates is an Assistant Vice President of Inventive Science at AT&T Labs, heading the Networking and Services Automation Research organization. Her team is focused on inventing, prototyping, and driving new technologies and analytics that drive enhanced levels of Operational automation through AI/ML, provide critical business insights, enhance customer network experience and address complex cross-layer issues across AT&T’s network and applications. Partnering closely with internal AT&T teams, academia and broader industry partners, her team's cutting-edge innovations are widely deployed and utilized across AT&T’s global networks and the broader industry.

Jen received her Ph.D. from The University of Melbourne, and Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) and Bachelor of Science degrees from the University of Western Australia, Jen moved from her homeland of Australia to the United States in 1999 to pursue her career at AT&T.

Jen has been honored with induction into the Women in Technology Institute Hall of Fame in 2016, the AT&T Fellow Award in 2012, the Science and Technology Medal in 2006, the Victorian Photonics Network Achievement Award in 2004, and was named a Top Young Innovator by MIT Technology Review in 2003. Jen holds over 30 patents.


Thursday, November 2, 2023

Time:  12:30pm-2:00pm

Alan R. Shaffer

Honorable Alan R. Shaffer

MIT Lincoln Laboratory


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The Honorable Alan R. Shaffer assumed his current position as the director of Washington operations for MIT Lincoln Laboratory in April 2022. Previously, he served as the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment (A&S) from January 2019 to January 20, 2021. Senate confirmed in January 2019, he was responsible to the Under Secretary of Defense (A&S) for all matters pertaining to acquisition; contract administration; logistics and materiel readiness; installations and environment; operational energy; chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons; the acquisition workforce; and the defense industrial base. During this period, he concurrently served as Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Defense.

From 2015 to 2018, Shaffer served as the Director, NATO Collaboration Support Office in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. In this role, he was responsible for coordinating and synchronizing the Science and Technology (S&T) collaboration between NATO member and partner Nations, comprising a network of about 5,000 scientists.

Previous to his role at NATO, Shaffer served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (ASD(R&E)) from 2007 to 2015. In this position, Shaffer was responsible for formulating, planning, and reviewing the Department of Defense (DoD) Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation (RDT&E) programs, plans, strategy, priorities, and execution of the DoD RDT&E budget that totals roughly $25 billion per year. He also served twice as the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering from 2007 to 2009 and from 2012 to 2015, a position that was the Chief Technology Officer of the DoD.

In 2009, he was appointed as the first Director, Operational Energy, Plans and Programs (Acting). Shaffer has also served as the Executive Director for several senior DoD Task Forces, including review of all research, acquisition and test activities during the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure. In 2007, he was the Executive Director for the DoD Energy Security Task Force and, and from 2007 to 2012, he served as the Executive Director of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protection (MRAP) Task Force, where he was responsible for oversight, fielding, and employment of 27,000 MRAPs across the DoD.

Before entering the federal government, Shaffer served 24 years as a commissioned officer in the United States Air Force and retired in the grade of Colonel. While serving, he held positions in command, weather, intelligence, and acquisition oversight with assignments in Utah, California, Ohio, Honduras, Germany, Virginia, Washington DC, and Nebraska. Upon retirement from the Air Force in 2000, Shaffer was appointed to the Senior Executive Service. In 2001, he assumed the position as Director, Plans and Programs, Defense Research and Engineering.

Shaffer earned a BS degree in mathematics from the University of Vermont in 1976, a second BS degree in meteorology from the University of Utah, an MS degree in meteorology from the Naval Postgraduate School, and an MS degree in National Resource Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. He was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service, the Meritorious Executive Presidential Rank Award in 2004, the Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Award, and the Distinguished Executive Presidential Rank Award in 2007 and 2015. He is a member of the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies Board of Regents and is a Distinguished Fellow of the Emerging Technology Institute of NDIA, as well as a member of several boards.