Every year, the Army's annual convention in Washington, D.C. brings out the latest designs from defense firms for souped-up trucks, upgraded helicopters, and fantasy weapons. This year's Association of the United States Army expo, held last week, was actually bigger: It took up two whole floors of the Washington Convention Center, not just one. Which made for a surreal juxtaposition, because the Army is out of cash.
If you talked to any vendor at the convention, any Army officer attending or any journalist covering it, and you typically got the same reaction. AUSA this year was practically taunting an Army gearing up for huge budget cuts. It was like a kid whose parents had just been laid off strolling by the FAO Schwarz window display.