F. Austin Branch
President, Information Professionals Association
Austin Branch serves as the first President and founding partner of the Information Professionals Association I(IPA) and Foundation. Austin served almost 30 years in Federal service as an Army Officer and Senior Civilian. He as commissioned as an Infantry Officer in 1986 from The Citadel, Charleston S.C. and went on to serve in multiple Command and Staff positions in conflict and in peace becoming the Army’s first Information Operations Officer. Austin pioneered military operations in the information environment in key leadership positions in the Army and Joint Organizations across the globe.
Upon retirement from the Army, Austin joined the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence as the Deputy Director and Chief of Operations for the Defense Policy Analysis Office, and in 2008 was selected as a Defense Intelligence Senior Leader as Senior Advisor for defense Information Operations. In 2010, Austin was selected by the Secretary of Defense to lead the Information Operations and Military Information Support Defense Enterprise as the first Senior Director for this mission area in the Office of Policy and Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict.
In 2013, Austin was again tapped to establish and lead a new organization at the National Counter Terrorism Center to address Domestic Counter Terrorism, Counter Violent Extremism, and Counter Terrorism Cyber Strategy and Policy in support of the National Security Council.
Currently, Austin is the Executive Director for Information Strategy and Programs at COLSA Corporation and resides with his wife, Carol in Centreville, VA.
Norman Balchunas, Colonel, USAF (Ret) is a Senior Director for Global Growth with Honeywell Aerospace. In that capacity he is focused on Connectivity and Service, specifically Cybersecurity, and developing Electronic Warfare and Directed Energy programs.
Norm’s career included positions in Industry, Academia and Not-for-Profits all focused on developing capabilities across Cybersecurity, Electronic Warfare, and Research and Development. Colonel Balchunas specialized in advanced research and development for knowledge representation, communications, advanced imaging, unmanned aircraft and cyber operations.
During his time in the United States Air Force, Colonel Balchunas served as a National Director for the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, as a Special Technical Operations Lead in the United States Joint Forces Command, and as a Commander of Systems development for multiple ISR and bomber platforms. He served as a Squadron Commander – Bomber Operations in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
Over the course of his career, Colonel Balchunas has accumulated vast knowledge in strategic planning, program management, electronic warfare, information operations, and cyber security. He also served as the Executive Director of Operations for the Association of Old Crows, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to researching and disseminating new information in areas such as electronic warfare, cyber operations, and information operations integration.
Colonel Balchunas received his B.S. in Cultural Anthropology from Bloomsburg University, an MPA in Public Education from Golden Gate University, and an M.S. in Strategic Studies from the Air War College.
David C. Grohoski
David C. Grohoski is currently serving as the Chief of Staff of the Marine Corps Information Operations Center (MCIOC) at Marine Corps Base Quantico.
He is a distinguished military graduate from Michigan State University, the University of Oklahoma, the Naval War College, and the National Defense University.
He is a graduate of the Infantry Officers Basic Course, Infantry Officers Advanced Course, College of Naval Command and Staff, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.
He is a retired US Army Colonel having served 28 years as an Infantry Officer in a variety of command and staff assignments. His Army assignments included: 1st Infantry Division; 2nd Infantry Division in Korea; 9th Infantry Division; 10th Infantry Division; 75th Ranger Regiment; 3rd US Infantry Regiment – The Old Guard; 5th Army; 1st IO Command; and the Army Staff.
His Joint/Combined assignments included: Exchange Officer with HQ UK LAND in Wiltshire, England; the Joint Readiness Training Center; US Strategic Command (J39); and MNF-I Strategic Effects Directorate in Baghdad, Iraq.
His seven combat deployments and six operations include service in: Central America, Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Afghanistan, the Philippines, and the Horn of Africa.
Mr. Grohoski’s awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Soldier’s Medal, and the Bronze Star.
Dr. Barton Boyd Brown II is a retired US Army Information Operations (IO) officer and President of Lexington Solutions Group. As a member of the first cohort of Army IO officers, Dr. Brown has planned and executed IO for conventional and special operations forces in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Balkans, and around the globe. His military IO assignments include service at the Land Information Warfare Activity as a Field Support Team Chief and later as the J3 Information Operations Division Chief for Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). Upon retiring from the Army in 2006, Dr. Brown joined Booz Allen Hamilton, where he supported clients across the Department of Defense and Intelligence Community. In 2014 he founded Lexington Solutions Group to provide national security, strategic communication, and management consulting services to both government and commercial clients.
Rand is currently a Senior Information Scientist at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, CA. Prior to joining RAND, he was the acting chief technology officer of the Software Engineering Institute (Washington, DC) of Carnegie Mellon University. Before that he did a five-year tour as a Program Manager in the Information Innovation Office of DARPA where he created and managed the Social Media in Strategic Communications (SMISC) program and the Anomaly Detection at Multiple Scales (ADAMS) insider threat detection program. Rand joined DARPA from Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Laboratories (LM-ATL), where he served as Chief Scientist for the Applied Sciences Laboratory that specializes in advanced software techniques and the computational physics of materials. Prior to LM-ATL he was an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, where he taught and performed research in applications of machine intelligence technology to a variety of problem areas including digital entertainment, automated reasoning and decision support and cyber threat detection. Before his professorship he served as a DARPA Program Manager focusing on machine intelligence and image understanding. Rand has also held research positions at the University of Maryland, Teknowledge Corporation, and the Applied Physics Laboratory of the University of Washington.