WASHINGTON — The Association of the United States Army (AUSA) describes their annual meeting as the largest landpower exposition and professional development forum in North America. While tens of thousands of military and defense professionals gather at the D.C. convention center for the same conference, some attendees have very different priorities, sources say.
"General Dynamics has what? 'Fidget spinners?' No, cancel that meeting," said Army Lt. Gen. Neil Thurgood to his huddled staff. "And tell them 2017 called and said it wants its trinket back."
Commonly referred to as swag, fidget spinners are just one of many useless pieces of crap that vendors use to lure the Pentagon's top brass and senior executives in for conversations about lucrative upcoming contracts. Other unimpressive swag offerings will include items like company-branded pens, squishy stress balls, and refrigerator magnets.
"I remember back when Sig had these awesome light up mugs," said Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley. "Glock's booth has these chintzy-looking bottle openers."
"We all know how the Army's new pistol selection played out."
In another area of the convention center, Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville had more ambitious plans and was seen getting serious with his top aides.
"Do you have any idea how sick that thing would look hanging in the office?" said McConville, pointing to a full-scale drone model suspended over the Boeing area. "I don't care if it's not 'officially' fair game. I'm the one who has to sit through a half hour of their flabber jabber. Find a ladder and some wire cutters, and get me that damn drone."
"And tell them to thank me for taking it."