International Air and Trade Shows:

DOD Increased Participation, but Its Policies Are Not Well-Defined

NSIAD-93-96: Published: Mar 11, 1993. Publicly Released: Apr 12, 1993.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) participation in international air and trade shows, focusing on: (1) participation in selected shows since May 1991; (2) changes in DOD policies on participating in these shows and leasing equipment to contractors who participate; and (3) policies of other leading industrialized nations regarding their participation in the shows and their support of contractors who participate.

GAO found that: (1) DOD increased participation in international air and trade shows to accomplish national security, foreign policy, and community relations goals; (2) direct costs of air show participation include training and incremental costs; (3) indirect costs of air show participation include those contractors incurred and charged to the government as overhead on government contracts; (4) the lack of written policies, approval of participation on a show-by-show basis, and the fact that existing community relations guidelines do not govern participation in shows precludes determination as to whether DOD has changed its participation policies; (5) increased participation since 1991 in international air and trade show did not result from a policy change; (6) DOD has not changed its policy on leasing equipment to contractors for international air and trade shows; (7) a specific statutory authority allows DOD to participate in international air and trade shows for national security reasons; and (8) other leading industrialized nations have varying policies on participating in and providing financial assistance to military contractors at air and trade shows.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD Directive 7230.8, issued on February 16, 1995, provides policy and guidance that address the GAO recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense, in implementing Section 1082 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1993, should issue directives that provide policies and guidance on: (1) DOD participation at international air and trade shows; (2) the reporting and accumulating of participation costs; and (3) leasing equipment to contractors at such shows.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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