Army Bans Attendance at Non-DoD Conferences

by Allan Rubin, Vice President, Marketing

I awoke a bit late this morning after staying up to watch the election returns and speeches. Upon pulling out my phone to scan my inbox, I was stunned to see this headline from Defense Systems:

Army Attendance at Non-DOD Conferences Banned for the Rest of the Year

After the crackdown on internal conferences due to questionable expenditures (think GSA and VA), we knew it was only a matter of time before third-party events would be directly affected.

It turns out Secretary of the Army John McHugh released an October 17 memo titled “Interim Guidance for Implementation of New OSD Conference Policy.” According to the memo, McHugh is “suspending Army attendance at non-DoD conferences between now and 31 December 2012” unless attendance was previously approved or an exception granted, with exception requests requiring endorsement by commanders of Army Commands, among others. The memo reminded recipients of their obligations to “adhere strictly to all applicable law, regulation, and policy,” and it emphasized the need to “implement more cost-effective and efficient methods to train, plan, collaborate and disseminate information.”

McHugh stated a goal of publishing an updated Army directive during the first quarter of FY13, with an effective date of January 1, 2013, to “develop a more detailed and comprehensive approach” related to Army participation in conferences. The Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army (AASA) will lead and manage Army conference efforts, draft new policies, and develop processes to analyze, track, and report on conference activities.

Considering the importance of face-to-face events in federal marketing activities, particularly as they relate to DoD, it’s disheartening to hear that individuals from Army will not be able to participate. We don’t yet know how this will impact non-DoD events in 2013, but I’d guess participation will continue to suffer. We’ve already heard that DoDIIS 2013 and the AFCEA TechNet events will be undergoing some changes. USSTRATCOM Cyber & Space Symposium, scheduled for next week, has already been cancelled for this year.

We recommend keeping some flexibility in your 2013 event marketing plans and budgets until we see how this plays out. We’ll update you through Government Sales Insider when we learn more.

4 Responses to Army Bans Attendance at Non-DoD Conferences

  1. Peg Hosky says:

    The impact also effects DOD speakers with policy development in the works. Events with a paid model will suffer certainly in the short term. @peghosky

  2. Pingback: Air Force IT Conference is Dead « Government Sales Insider

  3. Joe Burns says:

    Any updates on 2013 policy for non-DOD conference attendance?

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