January 21, 2010
We start the new year with opportunities and challenges for our Army and our Association.
2009 was a successful year for AUSA. Our mission to support Soldiers and Families and to be the Voice for the Army was successful on many fronts. I am very grateful for the many wonderful programs that have been conducted by our Chapters and their volunteers that take care of Soldiers and their Families.
I appreciate the continuous support our corporate and sustaining members have provided to AUSA this past year, both fiscal and physical. This appreciation extends to our great team here at AUSA headquarters. Together, we have been strong, Army Strong, in accomplishing our mission in 2009.
Our political leadership, both in the Administration and on Capitol Hill will have many issues to tackle. I am sure that the new year will bring policy and resource changes that will have an impact on our Army.
As members of the AUSA team, we must all remain well informed and focused on maintaining the proper level of support for our Army and its Soldiers in 2010. We must ensure the nation continues to focus on the fact that our Army is at war and transforming. We must insist that the Congressional leadership maintains strong bipartisan support for the troops and their mission. There can be no fall off of support on Capitol Hill or in the White House.
Virtually all of our chapters have participated in the creation of the 2010 Resolutions. Congratulations and thanks! You are the bedrock of our grassroots effort. Our goal overall remains: To have an Army that is fully resourced to successfully execute a winning strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan, to simultaneously transform and reset the force-Soldiers, units, equipment and installations.
Our 2010 Resolutions outline our AUSA strategy in three specific areas of action: Soldiers, Families, and Army Civlians, Readiness and Force Transformation..
These resolutions reflect changes in the Army that will become evident when the Secretary and the Chief of Staff deliver their 2010 Posture Statement in the next several weeks before the 111th Congress.
Our message remains that our Army must be fully resourced, manned, and equipped now and in the future. Simply put, the critical message is: an increase in Defense spending to at least 5 percent of our national GDP, a reallocation of the Defense Budget share to at least 28 percent of the DoD base budget for the Army, continued timely and adequate overseas contingency operations funding and bipartisan support for our Army at war.
We believe our Army, as it prosecutes the War - in Iraq and in Afghanistan - and perhaps elsewhere in the future, not only must receive timely and adequate funding, but must be sized and structured correctly for the total mission and strategy. Just this week, more than 4,000 troops that were headed to the war zone have been diverted to help the victims of the Haiti earthquake – another reminder that our force is too small to do all that it is being asked to do. The solution must be an increase in end strength with full budget funding.
Although the Association has long advocated an increase in end strength, we realize that to successfully fight and win our nation's wars, we must grow the Army to an end strength of 700,000 soldiers -trained, equipped, and ready to fight! This size will guarantee an Army that can generate and sustain forces to fight and deploy, maintain the qualitative edge in training and leader development and sustain a quality of life for Soldiers and their families on installations of excellence.
AUSA is vigilant as the civilian health care reform issue plays out. The Military Health Care Update: January 2010 in the upper right corner of the webpage you are reading gives you the latest information. We have been reassured time and again by both congressional leaders and the President that civilian health care reform will not have any impact on military, retiree or veteran health care, but the update includes a hotlink to a letter you can send to your members of Congress reminding them of their pledge.
I urge you to send it.
AUSA will remain focused in 2010 on its mission - regardless of new and developing challenges. We believe the nation now more than ever, needs and deserves a strong Army - sized, equipped, trained, manned and funded to meet the National Defense Strategy. Further we will advocate for the needs of military Families, Retirees, the Reserve Component, federal civilians and veterans. Your association will continue to look out for you.