VA's 'Patton' parody finds defenders


The Veterans Affairs Department’s training film might not be an unreasonable thing to spend a few thousand dollars on, said several FCW readers commenting on a recent article.

VA is under investigation for two training conferences held in Florida in 2011, but the video – one of the items cited by members of Congress as an example of waste – quickly found some defenders.

“The artificial furor over this conference video gives us even more evidence (as if we needed it), that any investigation can go too far," wrote Richard Warren at the Environmental Protection Agency. “This video sets a professional tone and is presented in a manner that is both efficient and memorable. The quality of the videography, lighting, sound and editing were professional throughout and the cost was far from unreasonable for the likely effects it caused, as part of a much larger investment in time -- all of which appears to have been very mission-focused.”

VA reportedly spent about $52,000 to make the video, which featured an actor parodying a scene from the movie “Patton” intercut with other material. Reps. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) and Bob Filner (D-Calif.) – the chairman and ranking member of the Committee on Veterans Affairs – led the charge to criticize it.

“I think the congressman is looking for something to outraged about,” wrote Al Saxon, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Vision Technologies. “The video was targeted at VA personnel, and having watched it, was an effective tool used to build morale and focus attention on their mission. I think Reps. Miller and Filner need to focus on the important tasks, not find petty excuses to get their names in the press.”

And an anonymous commenter had a recommendation: “Perhaps Congress should put into law that all federal training materials not contain any creative, engaging, inspiring or otherwise interesting content.”

About the Author

Technology journalist Michael Hardy is a former FCW editor.

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