Killer Apps, Mini Missiles: Army’s Expo Gets Put on a Budget

Smartphone with apps that can kill

Image credit: Wired

By Spencer Ackerman

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.

So it made little sense to cover big-ticket items on the AUSA convention floor. The Army won’t buy ’em anyway. That’s why last week, Danger Room took its video camera to highlight some of the more affordable options. Trucks, Howitzers and choppers are out. Apps, night vision upgrades and truck-based rockets are in. It’s almost like the Army could learn how to live on a budget.


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