Most of the plenary speakers at the opening session of the 2008 GEOINT conference in Nashville, Tennessee focused on the anticipated budget reductions that will ensue as the next administration takes office after next week’s U.S. presidential election. "I am quite concerned that this conference won’t be as big, because this community will go on a diet," said Rich Haver of Northrop Grumman, the master of ceremonies of the day’s activities. "I think the next three or four years will be a tough fight. We need to redouble our efforts to make sure that the next administration doesn’t, rebalance the budget on the back of the intelligence community."
Lt. General (ret.) Jim Clapper, the current Under Secretary of Defense (Intelligence) said that, "We are going to have to figure out a way to constrict. This will be a tremendous challenge for the next administration…we have gotten use to supplementary funding which has been as a result of the war. But if I were going to be around, I would try to champion a preservation of the capabilities even if they are shrunken a bit but to keep the expertise." He hoped the next administration will not entirely emasculate the capabilities that have been established during the years of the Iraq war.
Clapper also mentioned that in looking to the future, certain priorities must be considered. He said that integration and collaboration are very important, plus the melding and synthesis of the disciplines is the strength of geospatial intelligence. Clapper emphasized the need to adhere to standards and complimented Vice Admiral Murrett, the current NGA director on pushing this effort forward.