Sequestration claims another conference: DHS' GFirst cyber event

Wednesday - 6/19/2013, 6:24pm EDT

Chalk up another canceled conference to the ever-growing list of those falling victim to the cuts from sequestration.

The Homeland Security Department yesterday announced it had called off the 2013 GFirst cybersecurity conference and expo that was supposed to take place in Grapevine, Texas, from Aug. 25 to Aug. 30.

The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (U.S. CERT) said in an email to staff and a post on the conference's website that "the challenges posed by sequestration and the current budgetary environment in which we and our stakeholders are operating" led them to decide not to hold the conference this year.

GFirst provides a platform for public and private sector cybersecurity professionals to network, learn about vendor hardware and software, hear from security experts.

"The GFirst Team is in the process of exploring other avenues to bring you some of the presentations you would have seen at this year's conference as well as opportunities to collaborate and share information," the coordination team wrote.

Last year's conference in Atlanta featured presentations on everything from using automated intelligence to improve cybersecurity to CERT's top 10 battles to winning the battle against insider threats to securing the critical infrastructure.

DHS's decision to cancel the 2013 GFirst conference is similar to those made by the General Services Administration to cancel the SmartPay, FedForum and the Expo conferences, the Defense Department to call off the 2012 annual procurement conference and the 2012 Air Force technology conference in Mobile, Ala.

Agencies also aren't sending employees to out-of-town conferences because of budget cuts as seen most recently at ACT-IAC's Management of Change conference, where only about 100 out of 400 attendees were government employees.

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