Shows & Panels
- The 2014 Big Picture on Cyber Security
- AFCEA Answers
- Ask the CIO
- Building the Hybrid Cloud
- Connected Government: How to Build and Procure Network Services for the Future
- Continuing Diagnostics and Mitigation: Discussion of Progress and Next Steps
- Federal Executive Forum
- Federal Tech Talk
- The Future of Government Data Centers
- The Future of IT: How CIOs Can Enable the Service-Oriented Enterprise
- The Intersection: Where Technology Meets Transformation
- Maximizing ROI Through Data Center Consolidation
- Mitigating Insider Threats in Virtual & Cloud Environments
- Modern Mission Critical Series
- Moving to the Cloud. What's the best approach for me
- Navigating Tough Choices in Government Cloud Computing
- The New Generation of Database
- Satellite Communications: Acquiring SATCOM in Tight Times
- Targeting Advanced Threats: Proven Methods from Detection through Remediation
- Transformative Technology: Desktop Virtualization in Government
- The Truth About IT Opex and Software Defined Networking
- Value of Health IT
- Air Traffic Management Transformation Report
- Cloud First Report
- General Dynamics IT Enterprise Center
- Gov Cloud Minute
- Government in Technology Series
- Homeland Security Cybersecurity Market Report
- National Cybersecurity Awareness Month
- Technology Insights
- The Cyber Security Report
- The Next Generation Cyber Security Experts
Shows & Panels
VA paid $52K for 'Patton' conference training video
Thursday - 8/23/2012, 9:45am EDT
A 15-minute training video that cost $52,000 to make joins the examples of excessive spending at two Veterans Affairs' conferences last year with a total pricetag of $5 million.
VA showed the video at the two human resources training conferences in Orlando. It features an actor portraying Gen. George Patton and parodying the opening scene of the 1970 movie Patton.
The House Veterans Affairs Committee released the video on Wednesday.
In a statement emailed to Federal News Radio, VA said, "This parody should never have been produced and this misuse of taxpayer funds is completely unacceptable."
VA also said it is cooperating with the VA Office of the Inspector General's investigation into spending at the two conferences. A preliminary investigation by the VA OIG found conference attendees had benefited from spa treatments, concert tickets, helicopter and stretch limo rides. VA also spent $84,000 for VA-branded swag, including pens, highlighers, Post-It notes and hand sanitizer, according to the committee.
House VA Committee Chairman Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) said he has requested budgets for all VA conferences in the past three years "to see if these two conferences are an anomaly or are part of a bigger pattern."
VA has said the conferences were for "legitimate training purposes," according to a statement emailed to Federal News Radio earlier this week. Also, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki has called for an outside independent review within 90 days of all training policies and conferences.
In an interview with Federal News Radio this week, Miller pledged he would hold hearings on the two conferences after the VA's Office of the Inspector General releases a final report in September.
In the meantime, Miller and Committee Ranking Member Bob Filner (D-Calif.) wrote a letter to Shinseki seeking more information on VA conference spending, including how much the agency budgets for conferences. VA has offered conflicting amounts for conference budgets, from $20 million to $100 million, the letter said.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is also investigating more than 150 conferences since 2005. Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) using the $823,000 regional conference hosted by the General Services Administration last as a "benchmark" for excessive conference spending. Conferences that cost more than $3,000 per attendee or $600 per attendee per day "raised a red flag," Issa said.