Shutdown Shuts Down Defense Conferences

Photo of Allan Rubinby Allan Rubin, Vice President, Marketing

I wish I’d seen this story before I submitted a blog post yesterday about the impact of the shutdown on government marketers. If the topic interests you, check out this article in Defense News:

US Government Shutdown Hampers Attendance at Defense Conferences

The article includes a discussion of the likely impact on the upcoming AUSA Conference:

“If the shutdown continues in the coming weeks, it could affect attendance at a number of major trade shows.

 The Association of the United States Army’s annual conference in Washington — an event that typically attracts more than 25,000 people — is less than two weeks away. The conference is boasting more than 700 Army and industry exhibitors “using 500,000 square feet of exhibit space.”

The Army continues to plan for the annual meeting pending a final decision from service Secretary John McHugh on whether soldiers stationed outside the Washington-area will be allowed to attend.

Most temporary-duty travel has been canceled or suspended since the government shut down Oct. 1, and a number of soldiers, including some who are scheduled to speak, have expressed to Army Times uncertainty and confusion about whether they will be able to travel to the meeting.”

A Busy Week for Government Marketers

Photo of Allan Rubinby Allan Rubin, Vice President, Marketing

This posting is a bit of a catch-all for government marketers, as it seems we’ve just come out of a very busy week. Among the items that have crossed my desk, both good and bad, here are a few of which you should be aware:

Government Media

My alma mater AOL announced it has sold its government portal, AOL Government, to Breaking Media, Inc. (along with other vertical sites for energy, defense, and industry) after a year and a half of publishing. It is yet to be seen how the publisher of Fashionista, Deal Breaker, and Above the Law will handle a government-focused content and advertising product with a social media bent. We wish nothing but the best to government IT publishing veteran Wyatt Kash and his team, who built a great product for AOL, and we look forward to seeing what he does next.

We’re also keeping an eye on Fierce Government IT, which was just named a finalist for a Jesse H. Neal Award for editorial excellence. I remember from my trade publishing days how big a deal that is. Congratulations to publisher Ron Lichtinger, executive editor Dave Perera, and managing editor Molly Walker for their work on this Web site and newsletter. It has been a busy year for Dave, who just co-authored a book with immixGroup’s Steve Charles called the The Inside Guide to the Federal IT Market. (Shameless plug: if you market or sell IT to the government, buy this book.)

Federal Events

If you’re involved with The Association of the United States Army’s Institute of Land Warfare (AUSA ILW) symposium this week, there’s good news and bad news. The good news: top Army brass have been cleared to attend. The bad? There won’t be as many of them. According to Federal Times, “Army Secretary John McHugh approved the attendance of 76 Army personnel at the conference,” compared to 576 soldiers and civilian employees who traveled to the conference in 2012.

For those looking to support local AFCEA events, the Belvoir Chapter has just postponed its 12th Annual Ft. Belvoir Industry Days conference, scheduled for April 1 to 3, 2013. The chapter cites “current budget directives and fiscal constraints.” I guess even local conferences aren’t safe.

Speaking of AFCEA, we heard at the recent AFCEA West conference from the organization’s president, who held an impromptu meeting for sponsors. Citing recent guidance from DoD, they discussed the approvals process for 2013 conference attendance. Since every service agency has to approve attendance, it is easier to gain approval if only one agency is involved as opposed to multiple agencies, which require multiple approvals.

Further, AFCEA won’t move forward with a conference unless it meets all three of the following criteria:

  1. It is mission critical
  2. It offers a clear value proposition for the government
  3. It provides critical training

AFCEA West, which was declared “mission essential,” cited an increase in government attendance over the previous year (although we haven’t heard that verified, and it’s not too surprising since last year’s event wasn’t strong). Many government employees had to wait until the last minute to receive approval to attend, leading to late registrations. Based on recent events, we expect that to continue.

Thanks to immixGroup’s Jennifer Taylor and FedInsider‘s Peg Hosky for keeping me up to date!

The Federal IT Market

Things are moving pretty quickly, with such game-changers to track as government furloughs, sequestration, the potential expiration of the continuing resolution, FITARA, turnover at the agency CIO level, a new cyber security executive order, and more. If you’re not doing so already, sign up to follow this blog as well as our e-newsletter, Public Sector Business Alert, to learn how these developments may affect your ability to market and sell IT to the government.

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