As a follow-up to conference sponsorship and attendance financial regulations announced earlier this year, Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter has implemented a tiered approval structure to assist in oversight of U.S. Defense Department participation in future events. The services’ secretaries, undersecretaries or department-level component equivalents must approve department-hosted conferences that cost more than $500,000. In addition, they must approve all conferences—regardless of total cost—that involve a co-sponsorship or no-cost contract with a nonfederal entity or when the total cost of attendance to their component to any conference exceeds $20,000.
Senior-level officials are allowed to delegate approval authority to others under their command for Defense Department conferences with a total cost up to $500,000 as well as for all conferences that are not sponsored by the department when the total cost of attendance to their organization is less than $20,000. Approval authority also can be granted to general officers, flag officers and senior executive service members to enable of their staff to participate in department-sponsored events when the total cost does not exceed $100,000 or non-department conferences when the total cost is less than $20,000. When conferences are considered to be particularly high visibility or to pose unusual circumstances, Defense Department components should inform Deputy Chief Management Officer Elizabeth McGrath, who can assist to establish and execute the necessary processes to implement Carter’s requirements.