U.S. Army photo by Spc. John Martinez

Budget Crunches and Travel Restrictions Force Army Conference Online

The service says that streaming conference panels is a 'cost effective' way of reaching the Army's audience while encouraging professional development. By Bob Brewin

The Army will live stream nearly every discussion panel from its 2013 Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington next week.

The Army decided to use the Web to provide remote access to the Oct. 21-23 conference for those who will not be able to attend in person “due to lack of budget and restrictions on travel.”

The Army views the conference as a professional development opportunity, spokeswoman Alison M. Hamilton said. “Live streaming these forums gives the opportunity to hear senior-leader priorities, learn how they view changes in the force over the next 10 years and hear about important policy decisions and the Ready and Resilient Campaign,” she said.

Conference streams will be available on a microsite at www.army.mil/professional, she said. Soldiers and family members will also be able to ask questions of the speakers at appropriate times through social media, with on-site moderators passing questions from remote viewers to the speakers, Hamilton said.

David Liddle, an AUSA spokesman, said the conference live streams will also be viewable at www.ausa.org.

The Army has live-streamed AUSA panels in the past. But last year, for instance, only the "family forums" allowed for interaction. This year, all panels will allow for virtual engagement, Hamilton said.

"This is a cost-effective way to be able to reach a larger sort of total Army audience,” Hamilton said. "We're trying to increase support to the soldiers who can't travel, so they still can benefit from professional development."