The Army spent more than $10 million each on annual Association for the U.S. Army conferences in 2010 and 2011, according to a report this week from Bloomberg News.
Bloomberg reported that the Army spent $10.7 million on the 2010 conference and $10.6 million in 2011. The three-day conferences are educational forums for service members and civilian employees on topics such as cyberwarfare, Bloomberg said.
The revelations of the Army spending come after the General Services Administration and the Veterans Affairs Department were rocked by scandals involving excessive conference spending. Bloomberg noted that each Army conference cost roughly 13 times as much as GSA’s $823,000 conference, which was held in Las Vegas in 2010 and ended up bringing down the agency’s administrator.
The Army told Bloomberg it would be misleading and unfair to compare its conferences to GSA’s and VA’s.
GSA “got in trouble for spa treatments and iPods,” Army spokesman Michael Brady told Bloomberg. “That just doesn’t happen here.”
AUSA spokesman David Liddle told Bloomberg that the conferences’ transparency, structure and value make them “the gold standard of how these things should be run.”