Army spent 13 times as much on 2010 conference as GSA spent in Vegas

U.S. Army

The Army in 2010 spent $10.7 million on an educational conference, roughly 13 times the amount that the General Services Administration spent on a controversial training event in Las Vegas that year, according to a report from Bloomberg Businessweek.

According to records obtained by Businessweek through a Freedom of Information Act request, the Army spent $10.7 million on its annual three-day conference organized by the Association for the U.S. Army, an Arlington, Va.-based advocacy group. It spent another $10.6 million on that same conference in 2011, the report said. In total, taxpayers paid $37.7 million during the past four years for 9,805 service members and civilians to participate in the conference, Businessweek found.

The report comes as Congress is investigating several incidences of overspending on conferences in the federal government. In addition to GSA’s $820,000 Las Vegas conference, which included a mind reader and commemorative coins, the Veterans Affairs Department has come under fire for two 2011 human resources training events in Florida that together cost $6.1 million and had 1,800 attendees. Part of that cost was a $50,000 video spoofing the movie “Patton.”

Army spokesman Michael Brady told Businessweek that “a comparison to GSA or even VA would not only be inaccurate, but unfair.” Brady described the three-day Army conference as “an education forum on topics such as cyber warfare for military members, civilians, lawmakers and journalists and not an occasion for feting employees.” He said the Army understands the importance of reining in spending and told the publication in an interview that although the Army attends the conference, “we do not put this on.”

He added: “They got in trouble for spa treatments and iPods. That just doesn’t happen here.”

The Army accounts for as much as a quarter of the conference’s attendance, and the event commands about 35,000 participants and 600 industry and military exhibits. This year’s conference, which takes place next week, will cost $1.3 million for 400 attendees, an 88 percent reduction from prior years, but still significantly more than the GSA spent on the Las Vegas conference for about 300 attendees, according to the records obtained by Businessweek. The report also noted a July memo indicating that the Army would allow just 10 organizations and commands to display exhibits at this year’s event.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.