Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

October 04 2013

Shutdown Shuts Down Key Government Meeting

By David McMillin

government shutdown and meetings

With only a few days under the belt of the federal government shutdown, the face-to-face world is already feeling its impact. The 2013 Symantec Government Symposium, originally scheduled to be held on October 2, was postponed until March 11, 2014. The symposium features a cast of notable names including former Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, and C-level information and technology officers from the SEC, the IRS and other government agencies.

While delaying a one-day program for six months may not seem like a big deal, the announcement comes as cyber-security and data issues stand in a very public spotlight. From the Edward Snowden NSA leaks to a massive data breach at Adobe, it’s clear that protecting information continues to be a serious challenge for both public and private organizations. The Symantec Government Symposium seems poised to address the big issues with session names such as “Fighting Cybercrime in a Borderless World” and “Building a Cybersecurity Culture for the Nation.”

SEE ALSO: What the Federal Government Shutdown Means for Meetings

“The volume, the variety and the velocity in which these [cyber] attacks are hitting companies and organizations around the world is constantly growing,” Samir Kapuria, vice president, Symantec, said in a recent interview with Yahoo! News.

That continuing increase in the number of attacks reinforces the need for high-level discussions like this symposium. However, the government shutdown means that public officials won’t be attending conferences or making speeches until lawmakers can come to an agreement on a spending plan.

“All speeches to public audiences should be cancelled and no invitations to give speeches to public audiences should be accepted during the shutdown period,” a memo from Patrick Kennedy, Under Secretary, Management, U.S. Department of State, declares.

As the shutdown drags on and politicians continue to bicker, there’s no word yet on when the restriction will be lifted. 

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