Army pulls plug on IT conference

(Updated) The cancellation of the Army's Information Technology Conference scheduled for next week was the result of a servicewide move to freeze non-mission-critical spending.

In announcing the cancellation of the conference, sponsored by the Army Small Computer Program, the Army issued a statement yesterday blaming the cancellation on 'severe' Operations and Maintenance Army (OMA) funding restrictions. Those restrictions were brought on because Congress has not approved the fiscal 2006 emergency supplemental spending bill.

'These are painful actions, but they are absolutely necessary in order to continue operations during the month of June,' said Gen. Richard Cody, the Army's vice chief of staff, in an internal e-mail circulated throughout the service. Cody added that although lawmakers would likely finish the supplemental bill in June, 'We need to take action now to control spending in the Operation and Maintenance, Army appropriation and stay within law.'

Cody has asked all Army holders of OMA funding to reduce spending while ensuring that life, health and safety issues are covered. The priority, he said, is to continue to provide critical support to ongoing operations.

Cody has also prohibited Army officials from ordering 'noncritical' parts or supplies and ordered them to postpone or cancel all nonessential travel, training and conferences, and to stop shipments of goods unless necessary to support deployed forces.

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