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SMi is proud to present the 10th annual Social Media in the Defence and Military Sector conference, taking place on the 17th and 18th November 2021 in London, United Kingdom.

Social media has become an indispensable communication channel in civilian society, and the military sector is no different. It can be used as a platform for information and recruitment purposes, fulfil a welfare function for personnel keeping in touch with family and friends, and as a strategic communication tool for opinion-forming and psychological operations.

Social media offers fast, direct, and wide-reaching communications, so it is critical that public affairs professionals are properly equipped to make the most of what ; social media has to offer. Drawing on a wealth of expertise from military, government and industry, Social Media in the Defence and Military Sector remains the only truly global summit for communications professionals in defence. Join this community to learn from the very best, meet your peers from around the world, and accelerate your development.

  • Engage with a dynamic audience of military officers, government officials, industry experts and social media platform specialists on crucial topics such recruitment, audience engagement, crisis response tactics and combating fake news.
  • Exclusive Host Nation presentations from the UK MoD
  • Dedicated sessions on COVID-19 response and the role of the military in keeping the world virus-free
  • Two half day pre-conference workshops focusing on social media strategies and the utilisation of immersive technologies in military communications campaigns

Afghan Border Police; Austrian Armed Forces; Belgian Navy; Brazilian Army; British Army; Canadian Air Force; Canadian Armed Forces; Canadian Department of National Defense; CANSOFORM/National Defence; Defence Academy of the United Kingdom; Defense Media Activity USA; Department National Defence; DND; European Union Naval Force; Formerly NATO; German MoD; Hensoldt Optronics GmbH; HENSOLDT UK; Hong Kong Police Force; Imprint Social; IOM; Italian Armed Forces; Joint Special Operations University, USSOCOM; Leonardo; MINDEF, Singapore; Ministry of Defense of Côte d'Ivoire; NATO Allied Maritime Command; NATO ENSEC COE; NATO MARCOM; Norwegian Defence Staff; Norwegian National Security Authority; Pall Corporation; Pangaea Wire; Qatar Armed Forces; Republic of Singapore Air Force; Romanian MOD; Royal Air Force ; Royal Air Force (MOD-AIR-19/20-167); Royal Navy; RSAF; Saudi Ministry of Defence; Singapore Armed Forces; Singapore Mindef - Singapore Armed Forces; SRI; Swedish Armed Forces; Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB); Tajikistan Border Force; The Ministry of Defence; UAE GHQ; US Air Forces in Europe - Air Forces Africa Public Affairs; US Air Forces in Europe and Africa Public Affairs; USAF; VRAI; Women in Defence UK

Conference programme

8:30 Registration & Coffee

9:00 Chairman's Opening Remarks

Major Laurence Roche

Major Laurence Roche, Press Officer, British Army

9:10 Digital Strategy for a National Pandemic: The MoD’s COVID19 Support Force’

Mr Matthew Clarke

Mr Matthew Clarke, Head of Digital Strategy, UK MoD
View Bio

• The MoD’s latest communications initiatives and case studies of success
• Developing content to build public trust and provide an insight into the work of defence
• Reorganising digital communications teams to be more effective during crisis
• Adapting digital messaging in a post-COVID-19 world and ensuring effective, appropriate, and targeted engagement

9:50 Managing Communications Strategy at Scale: A Defense Media Activity Exclusive

Mr Hal Pittman

Mr Hal Pittman, Director, Defense Media Activity DoD
View Bio

Overview of the DMA's missions and communications objectives
Managing production and distribution of content across multiple platforms
New projects, such as the "truth tellers" education programme

10:30 Morning Coffee

11:00 The Relationship between Italian PSYOPS and Special Operations Forces (SOF)

Brigadier General Pietro Addis

Brigadier General Pietro Addis, Commander, Army Special Forces Command
View Bio

• An update on the 28 PSYOPS Regiment’s mission
• Using operational communications in support of military activities
• Influencing the perception, attitudes and behaviours of selected target audiences

11:40 Social Media Strategy in the Spanish Army

Colonel Jose Chaves Bermejo

Colonel Jose Chaves Bermejo, Chief of Communications Department, Cabinet of the Chief of Staff of the Spanish Army
View Bio

Communications Strategy: Public Sector and Operational requirements
Social Media dynamics: adaptation to a competing environment
Trends in Social Media: Communication for the new generations.

12:20 Networking Lunch

13:20 Countering Disinformation and Social Media Manipulation

Dr Todd C Helmus

Dr Todd C Helmus, Senior Behavioural Scientist, Rand Corporation
View Bio

• Overview of NATO Strategic Communication Center of Excellence’s mission to counter Russian misinformation in Eastern Europe
• Identifying disinformation trends and developing countermeasures
• Training military and civilian leaders in information-war skills

14:00 Lithuania’s Fight Against Fake News

Mr Tomas Ceponis

Mr Tomas Ceponis , Senior Analyst, Lithuanian Armed Forces Strategic Communication Department
View Bio

• How the International Organization for Migration (IOM) leverages social media features to fight discrimination
• Strategies for combatting TikTok-specific misinformation
• The humanitarian response to COVID-19 and the importance of remaining vigilant

14:40 Afternoon Tea

15:10 Combatting Misinformation & Discrimination on TikTok

Dr Luca Lamorte

Dr Luca Lamorte, Social Media Officer (Managing Editor), IOM
View Bio

• The Joint Artificial Intelligence Center’s mission and activities
• Overcoming reservations, combating incorrect assumptions, and spreading the truth about AI
• The need for transparency to build trust with the public
• How does the communications community need to adapt as AI and robotics become more widely used in the military?

15:50 Industry Perspective: Communicating with the Public about Robotics and Autonomous Systems

Mr Gert Hankewitz

Mr Gert Hankewitz, Export Director, Milrem
View Bio

• Milrem’s overall approach to communicating and marketing its robotics and intelligent functions technology
• Communicating about robotics whilst remaining mindful of public sensitivities
• What does increasingly unmanned battlefield mean for public affairs professionals?

16:30 Chairman’s Closing Remarks and Close of Day One

Major Laurence Roche

Major Laurence Roche, Press Officer, British Army

8:30 Registration & Coffee

9:00 Chairman's Opening Remarks

Major Laurence Roche

Major Laurence Roche, Press Officer, British Army

9:10 British Army Communications: Building an Online Community and Telling the Army’s Story

Ms Alex Schillemore

Ms Alex Schillemore, Head of Digital and Content, British Army

• How the British Army intends to tell its story in 2022 and beyond
• Feedback and lessons from the Army’s latest campaigns and partnerships
• Targeting Gen Z audiences and “non-traditional” Army recruits: what has the Army learned and how have they adapted?

9:50 Futures Command: Driving Innovation with Outreach and Engagement

Colonel Audricia M. Harris

Colonel Audricia M. Harris, Director of Communications, Army Futures Command
View Bio

US Army Futures Command’s approach to social media and digital engagement
Attracting innovation and modern approaches to the Army’s problems: how AFC manages its image
Content and platform considerations for innovation-driven organizations

10:30 Morning Coffee

11:00 The RAF’s InsideAir Podcast: Exploring New Channels for Engagement

Squadron Leader Stuart Smith

Squadron Leader Stuart Smith, Head of RAF Digital, RAF
View Bio

• An Overview of the RAF’s newest medium for communicating with the public: the InsideAir Podcast
• Linking new forms of communication with existing strategic themes
• Optimising social media channels to deliver content effectively

11:40 NATO’s Dynamic Engagement with Global Audiences Over Social Media

Ms Rebecca Obstler

Ms Rebecca Obstler, Head of Communications Services Section, NATO
View Bio

• Increasing NATO outreach and communication with internal and external selected audiences
• Creating distinguished messaging for both peace-time and operational social media activities
• Enabling effective communication and responses to audience interaction
• How the communications landscape is changing and where we need to adapt

12:20 Networking Lunch

13:20 The Six Demands for Social Media Success

Mr Kuande Hall

Mr Kuande Hall, Manager, Social Media Training Office, Defense Information School, US DOD
View Bio

• The importance of creating social media strategy at the Defense Information School
• The establishment of the Social Media Training Programme
• Identifying target audiences and establishing brand identity

14:00 Successful Employer Branding in the Austrian Armed Force

Dr Stefan Chavanne

Dr Stefan Chavanne, Director Armed Forces Personnel Agency, Austrian MoD
View Bio

Optimising Employer Branding as a strategic approach
Exploring how the creation of emotion is core for success in recruitment
Using Social Media as an essential part of recruitment

14:40 Military Service and Mental Health: Communicating about Supportive Programmes and Policies

Mr Andrew Morton

Mr Andrew Morton, Director of Veterans and Certification Affairs, SHRM
View Bio

• Leveraging social media to promote awareness of programmes that support today's service members’ mental health
• How these efforts enhance the overall wellness, recruitment and retention of today's military and their families
• Communicating how these services are addressing and supporting individuals in need and the next generation of recruits

15:10 Afternoon Tea

15:50 Deepfakes: Harmless Fun or Threat to Democracy?

Ms Mary Markovinovic

Ms Mary Markovinovic, Chief of Public Affairs & Adjunct Faculty Member, Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies
View Bio

• An introduction to Deepfakes: what they are and how they are made
• Are they a threat or is it just entertainment?
• How you can stop Deepfakes from undermining public communications
• Can they be operationalised by governments?

16:30 Surveillance for Sale: The Digital Danger to Military, Diplomacy and Privacy

Mr Steven Mehringer

Mr Steven Mehringer, International Communications Advisor, (Former Head of NATO Communications)
View Bio

Case Study: The tools of communications have become operational and intelligence weapons in cyberspace
The serious risks to military operations from soldiers digital footprints
What are governments and international organizations doing to prepare for a future where digital, cyber and AI are at the forefront of the fight.

17:10 Chairman’s Closing Remarks and Close of Day Two

Major Laurence Roche

Major Laurence Roche, Press Officer, British Army



Brigadier General Pietro Addis

Brigadier General Pietro Addis

Commander, Army Special Forces Command
Colonel Audricia M. Harris

Colonel Audricia M. Harris

Director of Communications, Army Futures Command
Colonel Jose Chaves Bermejo

Colonel Jose Chaves Bermejo

Chief of Communications Department, Cabinet of the Chief of Staff of the Spanish Army
Dr Stefan Chavanne

Dr Stefan Chavanne

Director Armed Forces Personnel Agency, Austrian MoD
Mr Hal Pittman

Mr Hal Pittman

Director, Defense Media Activity DoD
Mr Matthew Clarke

Mr Matthew Clarke

Head of Digital Strategy, UK MoD
Squadron Leader Stuart Smith

Squadron Leader Stuart Smith

Head of RAF Digital, RAF

Brigadier General Pietro Addis

Commander, Army Special Forces Command
Brigadier General Pietro Addis

BG Pietro ADDIS was born on the 1st of April 1967 in Sassari.

His military career started attending firstly the Army NCO School
in Viterbo in 1986 and later the Army Military Academy in
Modena 1987 and the Officers School in Torino in 1989 where he
completed his officer education in 1991. He spent his whole
military life in the SF/SOF Units/HQs.

Firstly assigned to the 9th SF Regiment as First Lieutenant, after
successfully completion of SF Qualification Course, he was
appointed SF Det Commander with the rank of Lieutenant, SF
Coy Commander with the rank of Captain and SF Bn Commander
as Lieutenant Colonel. During his last in the 9th SF Regiment he
was also appointed in the staff of unit holding the positions of
Chief of Operations Branch and afterward Chief of Training and Operations Branch.
Promoted to the rank of Colonel, he was appointed first as Commanding Officer of 4th Para Alpini
Ranger Regiment and after as Commanding Officer of the 9th SF Regiment.
Besides the above mentioned appointments in the units, BG ADDIS has been assigned as Staff
Officer to the Joint SF Operational Command in Rome, where he has been J3 Director, Chief of
Staff and Deputy Commander and in Pisa as Chief Of Staff in the Army SF HQ.
About the overseas assignments, BG ADDIS in his career has participated several military
operations in Somalia, in Former Jugoslavia (four tours), in Albania, in Kosovo, in Afghanistan (four
tours). Regarding the assignment in Afghanistan, he held two times the important positions of ITA
SOTG Commander and CJ5 Director in the ISAF SOF HQ. Moreover he has also participated the
NEO national operations in Rwanda and Albania.

In addition to the SF Qualification Course, he attended several other training courses as national
HALO-HAHO Course and SCUBA Course, tactical and staff courses in International Special Training
Centre (Pfullendorf GE) and NATO School (Oberammergau GE), Ranger Course, class 10-96 (USA).
To complete his officer profile, he attended the Army Staff Course and the Joint Staff Course.
He also participated in several combined SF exercises in Italy, Spain, France, United Kingdom,
Tunisia and Germany, during which has been awarded with the “parachute wings” of all these

From the 1st of July 17 to the 15th of July 18 BG Addis has been the Mission Force Commander of
the European Union Training Mission in Somalia.

From the 7th of September 18 BG Addis to the 22nd of July 20 has been the Commander of the
Army NCO Academy in Viterbo.

From the 31st of July 20 is the Commander of the Army SF HQ in Pisa.

BG ADDIS has the Strategic Science degree, is married with Mrs.Rita and has two sons (Diego and

Colonel Audricia M. Harris

Director of Communications, Army Futures Command
Colonel Audricia M. Harris

Driece Harris is a native of Ashburn, Virginia. She received her commission into the United States Army as a second lieutenant from Norfolk State University in 2002.

Driece currently serves as the senior communication advisor to the Secretary of the Army. In her most previous assignment, she served as a Pentagon Spokesperson, where she was the lead communication advisor for Defense Department Africa Affairs, Cyber Security, Defense Intelligence and Special Operations.

After graduating from Norfolk State University, Driece continued her education by receiving a Master's degree from Central Michigan University in Information Resource Management and a Master's degree in Public Relations Management from University of Maryland University College. From 2012-2013 Audricia served as a fellow for Fleishman Hillard, the world's leading strategic communication firm.

Driece’s military assignments have taken her all over the world to include two combat tours in Afghanistan. She has served in places such as Seoul Korea as the Director of Internal Information, Fort Knox Kentucky as the Director of Marketing for Army ROTC programs, and Sinai, Egypt, as the Director for Press and Visits for a small peacekeeping organization.

Driece’s awards and decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Joints Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, the M
Her hobbies include reading, exercising, traveling, and hanging out with her friends, family, and participating in community service projects with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.

She is married to Mr. Larry D. Harris of Dallas, Texas, and they have one son Gabriel and a Goldendoodle named Raleigh.

Colonel Jose Chaves Bermejo

Chief of Communications Department, Cabinet of the Chief of Staff of the Spanish Army
Colonel Jose Chaves Bermejo

Col Chaves joined the General Military Academy in 1988 and was promoted to Artillery Lieutenant in 1993.
The main appointments as a commanding officer include several artillery units, both in Field Artillery and Air Defence Artillery (Platoon and Battery Commander in Cordoba, Gerona and Ceuta).
From 2010 until 2013 was the Commander of the Tenth Artillery Battalion (Tenth Mechanised Brigade, in Cordoba).

As Staff Officer his duties include several positions as Chief Operations in Army General Command in Ceuta, CIMIC planner in NATO Force Command Heidelberg (Germany) and STRATCOM Planner and Analyst in the Office of the Chief of Staff of the Army (Madrid).

Since August 2020, he is the Chief of Communications Department of the Spanish Army, leading all Public Information activities in the Army.

• Education: main military and civilian courses include:
? Specialist in Command and Control Air Defence Artillery
? Joint Staff Course
? NATO STRATCOM Practitioners course
? Master Degree in Communication in the Public Sector.
? Speaks fluent English and German, some French.
• International Deployments.
? UNPROFOR (UN peacekeeping) Bosnia and Hercegovina 1994
? KFOR (NATO) Kosovo 2007
? ISAF (NATO) Afghanistan 2011
? EUTM RCA (EU training mission) Central African Republic 2019

He is married and has one son and one daughter.

Dr Luca Lamorte

Social Media Officer (Managing Editor), IOM
Dr Luca Lamorte

Dr. Luca Lamorte is the Social Media Manager at IOM, the UN Migration Agency. He completed his Ph.D. in International History and Politics at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in 2016. Prior to his current position, he worked for the Kofi Annan Foundation, the Permanent Mission of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta in Geneva, and Publicis. Luca holds a Master’s Degree in History of Contemporary Conflicts and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Communications and New Media from the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia.

Dr Stefan Chavanne

Director Armed Forces Personnel Agency, Austrian MoD
Dr Stefan Chavanne

Dr Stefan Chavanne was educated first at the University of Vienna, where he studied Law, and then Salzburg Management and Business School, where he achieved an MBA in Public Management. Dr Chavanne then began his career in HR-Management at the Austrian MoD in 1985 and was employed in a variety of different roles for the next 17 years. He also briefly worked on the UN Peacekeeping Mission to Cyprus between 1991-1992. In 2002, Dr Chavanne was promoted to the position of Director of Personnel Division in the Autrian MoD, before being named the Director of the Armed Forces Personnel Agency in 2014.

Dr Todd C Helmus

Senior Behavioural Scientist, Rand Corporation
Dr Todd C Helmus

Todd C. Helmus is a senior behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation and a member of the Pardee RAND Graduate School faculty. He specializes in strategic communications, social media, disinformation, and terrorism. Helmus' latest research focuses on ways to counter Russian disinformation campaigns in the United States and Europe. His research also focuses on examining the networks of ISIS supporters and opponents on Twitter, identifying ways to enlist key influencers in support of U.S. strategic communications and developing approaches to assess the impact of propaganda campaigns. Helmus has served as a deployed advisor to U.S. commanders in Iraq (2008) and Afghanistan (2010-2011) and led studies on U.S. efforts to train Afghan special operations forces. He received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Wayne State University.

Major Laurence Roche

Press Officer, British Army
Major Laurence Roche

Mr Andrew Morton

Director of Veterans and Certification Affairs, SHRM
Mr Andrew Morton

Andrew works with the military-services and veterans’ organizations to develop credentialing and workforce readiness pathways for veterans and military-families -including SHRM’s Certification. Andrew also helps create resources that empower organizations in their inclusion-hiring efforts. He is the contributing author to the SHRM published book “From We Will to At Will- A Handbook for Veteran Hiring, Transitioning and Thriving in Today’s Workplace.” Andrew previously served as SHRM’s Director of Social Engagement managing all SHRM’s social media programs. Prior to joining SHRM, Andrew served as an account manager at Purple Strategies PR firm overseeing digital media efforts of many Fortune-500 clients.

Andrew is a retired Army Infantry-Officer who served in leadership roles during multiple overseas and combat tours (Iraq, Bosnia, Macedonia and Egypt). He also served as Chief of Media Outreach for Multi-National Force-Iraq, and Chief of Marketing and Advertising for the Army Reserve, and Director of Social Media for the Army Reserve.

Andrew is passionate about awareness and resources in support of mental health and is enrolled in William and Mary College’s Masters in Mental Health Counseling program with a concentration in veterans and military families. Most importantly, Andrew serves as “Working-Dad” to his three wonderfully exhaustive teenagers in Alexandria, VA.

Mr Gert Hankewitz

Export Director, Milrem
Mr Gert Hankewitz

A former financial journalist and a communication manager at Estonia’s biggest transportation company SEBE, Gert Hankewitz handles marketing and communication at Europe’s leading developer of robotics and autonomous systems Milrem Robotics. Unlike other defence industry companies that tend to be covered with a veil of secrecy, Milrem Robotics has a candid and straightforward approach towards communicating with the public, and this in a very sensitive sector – autonomous robots.

Mr Hal Pittman

Director, Defense Media Activity DoD
Mr Hal Pittman

Mr. Hal Pittman is a member of the Senior Executive Service
serving as the Director of the Defense Media Activity
(DMA) at Fort Meade, Maryland. DMA is a mass media and
education organization that creates and distributes Department of
Defense content across a variety of platforms to audiences around
the world.

Prior to DMA, Mr. Pittman was an executive with Arizona’s largest
utility company, Arizona Public Service. Previously, he was
President and CEO of Special Olympics Iowa, leading sports
training and wellness efforts for 11,000 children and adults with
intellectual disabilities, and prior to that, served a full career as a
U.S. Navy officer in assignments all over the world, rising to the
rank of Rear Admiral.

In uniform, Mr. Pittman led public affairs for some of the military’s
most visible operations. He twice served as Communications Director at the U.S. Central Command
during combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan; commanded the Joint Public Affairs Support
Element; and served in the Pentagon as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense and as Special
Assistant to the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In his last active-duty deployment, Mr.
Pittman led communications for the 140,000-strong NATO International Security Assistance Force
in Afghanistan.

During his active-duty service, his teams won numerous media industry awards, including the
Public Relations Society of America Silver and Bronze Anvils, the International Association of
Business Communicators’ Gold Quill, and the Folio Show Editorial Excellence Award "The Eddy."
After his service on the U.S. Central Command staff, he was recognized as “PR News” Government
Public Relations Person of the Year; he has also received the American Business Award "The
Stevie" as America’s Best Corporate Communicator and in 2012, he was named "Advisor for Life"
to the Afghanistan National Olympic Committee for his efforts assisting Afghan sports federations.
In 2016, Mr. Pittman founded the Arizona Corporate Council on Veteran Careers promoting
veteran workforce development and hiring, and grew this Arizona business coalition to more than
35 companies. He is also Founder and Past President of the national utility industry non-profit
Veterans in Energy, and has served with Boards of Directors for other non-profits and start-up
companies. He is a past recipient of the Amateur Athletic Union’s Brother Bennett Award for
Volunteerism, and the Arizona Governor’s Lifetime Community Service Award; and in 2020, he
was selected to the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame.

Mr. Pittman earned his undergraduate degree from Appalachian State University, a master’s degree
in journalism from American University, was an MIT Seminar XXI Fellow in foreign politics and
international relations, and is a graduate of the Dartmouth Tuck Business School Advanced
Management Program

Mr Kuande Hall

Manager, Social Media Training Office, Defense Information School, US DOD
Mr Kuande Hall

Kuande Hall is the Social Media Program Manager at the Defense Information School, Fort George G. Meade, Maryland. He is a social media strategist and military veteran with 14 years of proven experience in strategically building brands; creating attention; generating user advocacy on a global scale; and developing public and media relation campaigns designed to secure and expand strategic business relationships. Hall served 14 years in the United States Marine Corps and Marine Corps reserves, with eight years spent in the public affairs career field. Hall graduated from the Basic Public Affairs Specialist Writer’s course in 2007 and the Intermediate Public Affairs course in 2011. He served as the editor of the Sixth Marine Corps District magazine, The Pacesetter, as well as the editor for headquarters Marine Corps’ national publication, Marines magazine. Hall was also the first social media chief for Headquarters Marine Corps following his completion of the Syracuse Military Photojournalism Course in 2010. Hall concluded his Marine Corps career serving as the Public Affairs Officer for the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force. Hall’s career is supported by a bachelor of arts in Journalism and Mass Communications from Ashford University and a master of professional studies degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Georgetown University. He is currently pursing a master of science in Digital Audience Strategy from Arizona State University.

Mr Matthew Clarke

Head of Digital Strategy, UK MoD
Mr Matthew Clarke

Matt Clarke has worked at the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall for 6 years working within Digital Communications and Strategy. Previously Matt worked within the technology sector for a range of companies including Adobe and Teradata. Matt leads a team of digital gurus who work centrally within the MOD to coordinate social media activity, manage GOV.UK web publishing and provide communicators across defence with tools and technology to deliver first-class digital communications.

Mr Steven Mehringer

International Communications Advisor, (Former Head of NATO Communications)
Mr Steven Mehringer

Steven Mehringer is a leader in the digital transformation of communications for international
institutions, governments and senior world leaders. He has proven expertise in creating
strategies, infrastructure and content to amplify communications for global audiences. From
2010-2019, he was Head of Communications for the NATO Public Diplomacy Division in
Brussels. He is recognized for transforming the Alliance into a leader of digital communications
among international organizations. Prior to joining NATO, he served 3.5 years with the
Department of State at the U.S. Embassy Baghdad, Iraq as Director of Broadcast Operations.
He played a critical role in developing the embassy's outreach capacity and twice received the
Department of State Meritorious Honor Award. He was also recognized by Ambassador Ryan
Crocker and General David Petraeus for working to rebuild the Iraqi Boy Scouts and Girl
Guides program. Before shifting to government communications, he spent 15 years as a
journalist and producer in TV news in the United States working for NBC, ABC and FOX.


Mr Tomas Ceponis

Senior Analyst, Lithuanian Armed Forces Strategic Communication Department
Mr Tomas Ceponis

Tomas Ceponis (born May 8, 1974) is analyst at the Lithuanian Armed Forces, Strategic Communication Department at the Chief of Defense Office in Vilnius, Lithuania.
He graduated civilian education and joined Lithuanian armed forces in 1993. From 1993 to 2003 served in National defense Volunteer forces in various reconnaissance and intelligence positions. From 2003 until 2007 he served in the Lithuanian Land Force HQ as intelligence, counterintelligence and security specialist. In 2005 he was deployed to NATO training mission in Iraq ((NTM-I) Iraqi Military Academy, Al Rustamiyah, Baghdad). From 2007 till 2010 Tomas Ceponis served in NATO JFC Brunssum HQ, J2X section, as security specialist. In 2010 he was assigned to Information operation center at the Chief of Defense Office as analysis specialist. Centre soon evolved to the Strategic Communications Department.

Ms Mary Markovinovic

Chief of Public Affairs & Adjunct Faculty Member, Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies
Ms Mary Markovinovic

Mary Markovinovic is the chief of public affairs and an adjunct faculty member at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies. At the Center, she teaches courses focused on social media and terrorism, crisis communications and media training.

Ms Rebecca Obstler

Head of Communications Services Section, NATO
Ms Rebecca Obstler

Rebecca Obstler joined NATO in 2018. In her current role as Head of the Communications Services Section, Public Diplomacy Division, she oversees the incandescent team responsible for engaging Allied audiences through strategic digital outreach. The section communicates across NATO’s owned digital landscape, enables Allied and other communicators to communicate about NATO and promotes coherence among Allied communications. A Generation X digital native, Rebecca has worked in communications spanning the analogue and digital eras. She is most recently an alumna of the United Nations system (and related), having spent more than a dozen years at such organizations as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund and the International Maritime Organization. Prior to her appointment to NATO, she led the UNICEF global web team. A United States national, Rebecca holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from Dartmouth College and a Master’s in international negotiation and conflict resolution from the American University School of International Service.

Squadron Leader Stuart Smith

Head of RAF Digital, RAF
Squadron Leader Stuart Smith

Squadron Leader Smith joined the RAF as a Personnel Administrator in April 1991.

Following Basic Training and Trade Training, he was posted to his first productive tour at RAF Honington where he was employed in the P1 Discipline Section. Tours to RAF Lyneham and detachments to Bahrain in support of Operation TELIC, the Falkland Islands and Kosovo followed. As a Sergeant, he was posted to the British Embassy in Stockholm in 2004 as the Assistant Defence Attaché. He returned to the UK in 2007 to be employed as a Career Manager at RAF Innsworth.

Flight Lieutenant Smith gained a Commission in 2008 and successfully graduated from Initial Officer Training in October 2008 where he was awarded the BAe Systems Trophy and the MacRobert Prize. Following Branch Training, Smith was posted to RAF Kinloss in February 2009 as SO3 A1 in the Nimrod Force Headquarters. Subsequent promotion to Flight Lieutenant and an internal posting to OC Personnel Service Flight followed in August 2010. Posted to HQ AIR in November 2011 Smith filled the role of a Casework Officer for HQ 1 Gp and JHC Units. This tour of duty was cut short as Smith deployed in support of Operation HERRICK in May 2013 to run the Key Leadership Engagement Cell based at Camp Leatherneck. Returning to the UK in November 2013, Smith was employed as SO3 Redundancy Focal Point at HQ AIR before promotion to Squadron Leader saw him move back into Air Personnel Casework. At tour as OC Personnel Management Squadron at RAF Brize Norton followed before he was assigned into A5 Operations as the RAF’s Russia Desk Officer compiling contingency plans in line with PJHQ and USAFE.

Smith is currently employed as Head of RAF Digital where he is responsible for telling the RAF’s unique story through external digital media channels.

Squadron Leader Smith is married to Ruby and has 4 children, and 6 grandchildren. His interests include walking, golf, keeping fit and furniture restoration; he also speaks Swedish.

Vitnija Saldava

Editor & Press Officer, Nato
Vitnija Saldava

Sponsors and Exhibitors



Digital Content: How to Maximise your Return on Investment

Digital Content: How to Maximise your Return on Investment

Venue To Be Confirmed
16th November 2021
London, United Kingdom

Military Recruiting, Retention and Brand Building via Social Media with GEN-Z

Military Recruiting, Retention and Brand Building via Social Media with GEN-Z

Venue To Be Confirmed
19th November 2021
London, United Kingdom


St James' Court

Buckingham Gate, London, United Kingdom

In a country that values understatement, St. James' Court is an English classic typifying the concealed charm of one of Britain's finest hotels. With a distinguished pedigree shaped over more than a century, this discreet masterpiece offers elegant service, with an easy charm that’s reserved, yet attentive. Exceeding the expectations of today’s discerning traveller, St. James' Court is a slice of the past served up on a contemporary platter.

A number of our clients have been approached by third party organisations offering to book hotel rooms. We would advise that you do not book through them as they are not representing the SMi Group. SMi Group books all hotel rooms directly. If you are approached by a third party organisation then please contact us before making any bookings. If you have already booked a hotel room using a third party organisation, we would highly recommend contacting the hotel you were booked into to ensure a booking has been made for you. We would also advise you to please check the terms and conditions of the booking carefully.

Speaker Biographies


Short Programme 2021


Full Programme 2021




Preliminary attendee list


Past Attendees (2018 - 2019)


Interview with Mr Matthew Clarke, UK MoD


Interview with Mr Kuande Hall, US DOD


Interview with Luca Lamorte, IOM


Sponsors and Exhibitors

i3 Gen

Sponsors and Exhibitors

At the heart of any success lies a good story!

Whether you’re looking to develop and grow your organisation, engage with stakeholders, inform and influence audiences, increase recruitment, improve retention, or grow sales; how you engage and communicate is essential.

With a particular focus on Digital and Social Media, i3 Gen is a specialist consultancy, blending the knowledge, skills and experience of Business Marketing with Military Strategic Communications and Information Operations.

Working with both military and civilian organisations, i3 Gen helps leaders and teams improve their Engagement and Communications through the development of well-crafted narratives, delivered through emotionally engaging stories, and encompassed by structured planning and ‘measurement of effects’.

i3 Gen provides tiered training, leadership coaching, specialised consultancy and managed services covering Digital and Social Media, Strategic Communications and Information Operations.

Over 2000 years ago, Marcus Tullius Cicero wrote;

“If the truth were self-evident, eloquence would be unnecessary.”

The team at i3 Gen will help you tell better stories!

Media Partners

Technology Conferences


TechnologyConference.com is a premier resource of professional events, providing the latest information on technology events for R&D, business development and marketing professionals in technology-intensive industries. TechnologyConference.com is one of the most widely-read technology event publications, providing the latest information on technology events for R&D, business development and marketing professionals in knowledge-intensive industries. Decision-makers at Fortune 500 companies, government agencies and R&D organizations watch the technology event announcements published at TechnologyConference.com and its media partnership network.

Homeland Security Research Corporation


HSRC provides premium off-the-shelf market reports on present and emerging technologies and industry expertise, enabling global clients to gain time-critical insight into business opportunities. All reports include in-depth information and analysis of emerging markets, technologies, and industries broken down by geography, market, vertical, technology, product, and revenue stream. Our reports support Homeland Security & Public Safety communities worldwide in their strategic decision-making process, providing up-to-date market knowledge, analysis, and insights. HSRC offers customized research services geared towards providing our clients with clear, actionable recommendations designed to empower decision-making and to help exploit emerging opportunities in the market. The customized research services provide a deep analysis of specific markets and eco-systems, target geographies, strategic segments and verticals, competitor analysis and technological benchmarks. The custom research services are provided as an ad hoc assignment or as an ongoing service.

Asian Military Review


Asian Military Review is ABC audited publication, read & discussed by key decision makers & advisors to Asia Pacific militaries. Published since 1993 it’s widely recognised as authoritative provider of unbiased & objective information to Asian military. Editorial content comprises capability analysis, special reports & relevant news coverage from the region. AMR provides information, opinion & facts allowing military professionals to track & understand defence developments worldwide, concerning equipment, training, organisation & doctrine issues. The magazine is a proven source keeping military professionals up to date on national & international defence & security issues.

Army Technology


Army-technology.com brings you up-to-date international news and features on the defence industry, covering military projects, trends, products, services and more in the army sector. With a team of journalists around the world, army-technology.com, along with sister sites naval-technology.com and airforce-technology.com, is the only business service that focuses on the technologies required by military personnel and companies working in this important field. When you combine this with one of the most comprehensive and detailed listings of military equipment suppliers, products and services, free white paper downloads and company press releases, you see why army-technology.com is the key point of reference for the defence industry.



The independent authority on search vendors, topseos.com, evaluates and ranks the top internet marketing companies. Categories ranked by topseos include: search engine optimization, pay per click management, affiliate marketing, social media optimization, and many more. Since 2002, topseos has been a trusted resource for businesses looking to launch or improve internet marketing campaigns. The pathfinder service allows topseos to work directly with you to help find companies that best fit your business needs. Why waste time searching through thousands of sites with false promises? Go straight to the authority, gain insight into the industry, and work with the best.

Airforce Technologies


Used daily as means of creating partnerships and as a point of reference by professionals within the air force industry, this comprehensive resource supplies the latest news releases, detailed information on industry projects, white papers, event information and a thorough breakdown of products and services.

Social Media Portal


The Social Media Portal (SMP) is a global news and information directory. Showcasing social media and related technology its free resources benefits academics, analysts, advertisers, businesses, marketers, PRs, researchers etc. Add your apps, blogs, press releases, campaigns, research, events and more for free. Keep up-to-date @smponline.

AirForces Monthly


AirForces Monthly magazine is devoted to modern military aircraft and their air arms, it provides the best military aviation news coverage from its global network of correspondents and is essential reading for anyone seeking a well-informed view. AirForces Monthly has built up a formidable reputation worldwide by reporting from places not generally covered by other military magazines.

Aviation News


As Britain’s longest established monthly aviation journal, Aviation News is renowned for providing the best coverage of every branch of aviation. Now incorporating Classic Aircraft, each issue features the latest news and in-depth features, plus firsthand accounts from pilots putting you in the cockpit. Covering both modern military and civil aircraft, as well as classic types from yesteryear, it features subjects from World War Two, through the Cold War years to present day. Aviation News brings you the past, present and future of flight.

Military Systems and Technology


Military Systems & Technology is a comprehensive web portal, design agency and publication designed for the International Defence & Aerospace Industry. It is a source of daily information for Manufacturers, OEM’S, System Integrators and Contractors. We even have Government & Military Readers. The portal encompasses all aspects of Military equipment, technology, design and services. www.militarysystems-tech.com info@militarysystems-tech.com +44 (0)1392 881545



Professionals in the Aerospace & Defence market use the ASD Media internet platforms to:
  • Be informed on the latest market developments; www.asd-network.com
  • Find the latest business news; www.asd-network.com
  • Find the upcoming events; www.asd-network.com
  • Find companies and organizations; www.asdsource.com
  • Distribute news globally. www.asdwire.com
The ASD Media platforms are well known and used intensively, your company is able to benefit from these large numbers of users. Be informed with ASD-Network; Create exposure for your company with ASDSource, distribute your news with ASDWire or advertise with us, build your brand and increase traffic to your company’s website.

For more detailed information please contact with: ASD MEDIA



Defense Update highlights worldwide defense programs, including; land warfare covering armor and infantry and support elements,aerospace, naval, C4ISR, EW, Cyber Warfare, intelligence and net-centric warfare, unmanned systems and robotics, and homeland defense. Written by experienced defense journalists from different nations, with contribution by analysts specializing in different fields, Defense Update provides comprehensive coverage of specific defense related topics, including Armored Fighting Vehicles (AFV), Future Combat Systems, Aerospace – and unmanned systems as well as robotics and Precision Strike weapons. It also covers in-depth analysis of developing trends in Command, Control, Communications and Computing, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR).

Armada International


ARMADA INTERNATIONAL is leading defence magazine which reports on and analyses defence systems, equipment and technology. Together with its Compendium supplements, ARMADA provides defence planners in the militaries, in government, in procurement and in the defence industry itself with the information they need to plan their strategies.

Social Media Examiner


The world’s largest online social media magazine, Social Media Examiner helps businesses discover how to best use social media, blogs and podcasts to connect with customers, drive traffic, generate more brand awareness and increase sales. Social Media Examiner hosts the popular Social Media Marketing Podcast and the industry's leading physical conference, Social Media Marketing World - http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com

21st Century Asian Arms Race


21st Century Asian Arms Race (21AAR) is an online resource for conflict and security related information specific to Eurasia. 21AAR's editorial style and open source approach to gathering public intelligence ensures a unique and independent presentation of events in real-time.

Visibility Magazine


Visibility Magazine, founded in 2007, has become the guide to latest trends in internet marketing. Visibility conducts interviews with CEOs, shares opinions, reviews products, and provides a wealth of information about the movements in the industry. Additionally, Visibility will reach many fringe businesses that may have been contemplating entering or expanding their Internet marketing campaigns. Visibility is published quarterly and covers a wide range of topics including, but not limited to, organic optimization, pay-per-click marketing, website analytics, affiliate marketing, and press release distribution. Visibility embodies high-quality content, good sense, superior taste, and the character of conscientious journalism.


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St James' Court

Buckingham Gate
London SW1E 6AF
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St James' Court

In a country that values understatement, St. James' Court is an English classic typifying the concealed charm of one of Britain's finest hotels. With a distinguished pedigree shaped over more than a century, this discreet masterpiece offers elegant service, with an easy charm that’s reserved, yet attentive. Exceeding the expectations of today’s discerning traveller, St. James' Court is a slice of the past served up on a contemporary platter.



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CPD stands for Continuing Professional Development’. It is essentially a philosophy, which maintains that in order to be effective, learning should be organised and structured. The most common definition is:

‘A commitment to structured skills and knowledge enhancement for Personal or Professional competence’

CPD is a common requirement of individual membership with professional bodies and Institutes. Increasingly, employers also expect their staff to undertake regular CPD activities.

Undertaken over a period of time, CPD ensures that educational qualifications do not become obsolete, and allows for best practice and professional standards to be upheld.

CPD can be undertaken through a variety of learning activities including instructor led training courses, seminars and conferences, e:learning modules or structured reading.


There are approximately 470 institutes in the UK across all industry sectors, with a collective membership of circa 4 million professionals, and they all expect their members to undertake CPD.

For some institutes undertaking CPD is mandatory e.g. accountancy and law, and linked to a licence to practice, for others it’s obligatory. By ensuring that their members undertake CPD, the professional bodies seek to ensure that professional standards, legislative awareness and ethical practices are maintained.

CPD Schemes often run over the period of a year and the institutes generally provide online tools for their members to record and reflect on their CPD activities.


Professional bodies and Institutes CPD schemes are either structured as ‘Input’ or ‘Output’ based.

‘Input’ based schemes list a precise number of CPD hours that individuals must achieve within a given time period. These schemes can also use different ‘currencies’ such as points, merits, units or credits, where an individual must accumulate the number required. These currencies are usually based on time i.e. 1 CPD point = 1 hour of learning.

‘Output’ based schemes are learner centred. They require individuals to set learning goals that align to professional competencies, or personal development objectives. These schemes also list different ways to achieve the learning goals e.g. training courses, seminars or e:learning, which enables an individual to complete their CPD through their preferred mode of learning.

The majority of Input and Output based schemes actively encourage individuals to seek appropriate CPD activities independently.

As a formal provider of CPD certified activities, SMI Group can provide an indication of the learning benefit gained and the typical completion. However, it is ultimately the responsibility of the delegate to evaluate their learning, and record it correctly in line with their professional body’s or employers requirements.


Increasingly, international and emerging markets are ‘professionalising’ their workforces and looking to the UK to benchmark educational standards. The undertaking of CPD is now increasingly expected of any individual employed within today’s global marketplace.

CPD Certificates

We can provide a certificate for all our accredited events. To request a CPD certificate for a conference , workshop, master classes you have attended please email events@smi-online.co.uk

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