U.S. Army officials have announced that military personnel will be allowed to attend this year’s Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) Annual Meeting and Exposition Oct. 21-23 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
The Sept. 10 announcement from Secretary of the Army John McHugh included his statement that the event “is one of the Army’s three key strategic communications and outreach platforms, and also serves as a professional development forum for the entire Army, including its civilians and family members.”
Last year’s announcement, however, came amid widespread uncertainty and was made just days before the opening of the event, keeping AUSA officials anxious up until the last minute.
About 6,000 uniformed personnel attended the 2012 show, down approximately 5,000 from the year before, according to a recent story in the Army Times. The Army also drastically reduced the amount of money it typically spends on the show, from $10 million in 2011 to $1.3 million last year, while also cutting the number of booths it had on the showfloor from 75 in 2011 to one last year.
Show officials say they expect about the same number of uniformed military attendees as last year and AUSA’s president, retired Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, confirms in a statement, “Senior Army leaders, even with budget challenges at top of mind, have crafted a world-class professional development experiment that benefits our Army.”
While AUSA has not yet released attendance or showfloor estimates for this year’s show yet, AUSA spokesperson David Liddle told the Army Times about 400 exhibit booths were expected.
Last year’s show, despite the Army cutbacks, had about 330,000 net square feet, 650 exhibitors and 18,000 total attendees. That compares favorably with 2009 when the show had 250,000 net sq. ft., 408 exhibitors and 19,000 attendees.