An open letter from Keith J. Masback, Chief Executive Officer, United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) regarding GeoINT 2013 and the recent government shutdown…
As you know, last night, Congress failed to pass a continuing resolution, and the lapse in appropriations will impact our Community and the Nation in the form of a shutdown of the federal government. This has naturally generated significant interest in USGIF’s contingency planning for the GEOINT 2013 Symposium, to be held in Tampa from 13-16 October.
The GEOINT 2013 Symposium is 12 days away, and Congress could come to some resolution over the next two weeks. Historically, and in light of other pressures, this seems relatively likely. Regardless, USGIF will host the Symposium as scheduled. The entire staff at USGIF, along with our fantastic corps of volunteers supported by our sustaining members, work tirelessly to bring you the highest quality events, from small dinners to our Tech Showcases, GEOINT Community Week, and the GEOINT Symposium. We remain confident that there will be significant value for attendees and exhibitors alike in spite of the government shutdown.
As of Monday, we have 265 exhibitors contracted for the event, and we are tracking roughly on par with last year’s attendance numbers with two weeks to go. Notably, we also have the most ever government, military, and international participants registered for this year’s Symposium. We are fully aware the shutdown will negatively impact attendance.
The GEOINT Symposium has value far beyond the total number of attendees, and while it is always satisfying to share the annual attendance count, that raw number has never been our sole measure of success. Rather, it is the discovery, learning, networking and business-to-business opportunities that have been the elements of the event which have consistently earned the highest praise in post-event surveys.
We have added more than 30 hours of professional development sessions to this year’s program, where attendees can interact, learn, and earn certificates for each session they attend. We also have the pre-symposium GEOINT Foreword on Sunday, which is focused on science, technology, research and development. We have multiple professional networking activities for attendees to sustain existing relationships and create new ones. Our unparalleled exhibit hall presents a unique opportunity for an effective, efficient way to see the hardware, software, and services offered by 265 companies, organizations, and academic institutions, from the United States and abroad.
USGIF will continue to plan for alternative programming for the event should the shutdown extend through the Symposium, limiting the ability of some of our government speakers to attend. Some of you have already offered ideas, and I encourage you to reach out to me and the rest of the staff with your suggestions. We will likely host an ad hoc meeting of our Planning Committee to generate recommendations as well.
We are not a Community that shrinks in the face of adversity. It is our duty and responsibility to approach challenges with appropriate perspective and overcome the obstacles to insuring that we, collectively, become more adept at Operationalizing Intelligence for Global Missions. Our adversaries won’t take a pause in plotting threats to our Nation, nor are our young men and women in harm’s way around the globe able to call a "time out" while our government fails to pass appropriations. So, we must endeavor to drive on and do our best for the security of the Nation and our allies.
We will communicate clearly and consistently as changes to the situation warrant, and ask your patience as we work through the challenges associated with the shutdown