After over eight years at war, the sacrifices of the American soldier and his or her family continue to be admired by the American public. The nation’s respect and generosity, even in difficult economic times, remains one of the strengths of our country and one of the keys to a strong Army family.
However, the battles are not over, the enemy is not defeated and the cost of the economic recovery has people questioning if we can sustain the support needed to achieve a secure conclusion to this war.
With the physical and emotional burdens on our Army and its soldiers and families only increasing as time goes on, we must be vigilant if we are to secure a lasting peace and a respectable future for those who have given so much.
Now, more than ever, professional soldiers and those who support them need associations to keep the focus on a quality land force and associations need your support to continue the mission.
The Association of the United States Army – AUSA – has long been the leading voice among associations for the Army’s appropriate share of the defense budget, for an increased Army end strength to address your concerns over too frequent deployments, for entitlements equal to your sacrifices and for the tools and equipment you need to accomplish the mission.
AUSA – known and respected for 60 years as a credible and dynamic educational association – speaks out on these issues on Capitol Hill, with the administration, in the media and at the local level to ensure that the best interests of all soldiers and the well-being of families are in the forefront.
AUSA’s 2010 resolutions highlight 189 separate initiatives supporting people, readiness and transformation. These are 189 initiatives important to you and to your soldiers.
AUSA’s Annual Meeting and Exposition, held in October at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, is recognized throughout the Army as a professional development forum.
Active Army, Army National Guard, Army Reserve – all three components – must have this articulate and timely support needed to accomplish the mission of our Army as it fights wars in Afghanistan and Iraq while transforming into a modular, expeditionary combat brigade-centric force.
AUSA membership is important to you and your professional development for a variety of reasons.
As the Army’s professional association, AUSA keeps you informed about current issues through its publications – ARMY Magazine and AUSA NEWS; its Institute of Land Warfare; and its Web and social networking communications.
The Institute of Land Warfare (ILW) has developed a broad comprehensive program of activities that includes publishing professional research papers, newsletters, background briefs, Torchbearer Reports, essays and the very informative NCO Update.
All these publications are available at the "Members Site" on the AUSA Web page – www.ausa.org.
Col. John Davies, USA, Ret., director of regional activities, said, "Many of the AUSA members I’ve talked with over the years mention the wealth of information AUSA provides and how they’ve used this in officer and NCO professional development sessions."
In addition to the publications, AUSA’s series of symposia and expositions held throughout the United States and overseas, offers other professional development venues to educate our members and the public on soldier and family issues.
The highlight of AUSA’s year is the Annual Meeting and Exposition held in Washington in October.
Praised by senior officers and noncommissioned officers – and their civilian counterparts – the three-day meeting is an outstanding learning experience and is recognized throughout the Army as a comprehensive professional development forum.
At the meeting you hear directly from the senior leaders in the Army and Department of Defense, see the latest equipment and have the opportunity to talk with representatives from the companies developing and producing the Army’s current and future equipment and technology. "Nowhere else will you have this opportunity," Davies said.
At the local level, many of AUSA’s chapters offer professional development opportunities for their members through programs, projects, seminars and activities involving both the military and civilian communities.
"At the heart of our chapters are dedicated volunteers," Davies said, "who bring to life our "Support for the Soldier" motto. Like our military and civilian leaders, they care deeply for the soldier, family members and civilians. They can be found at departure and welcome home ceremonies, providing resources to military families in need, adopting deployed units and ensuring that those who gave their all are not forgotten. "
Last year, the chapters raised more than $1,150,000 for these activities as well as for scholarships, grants, soldier and wounded warrior recognition programs, etc. This is in addition to the $1,100,000 from AUSA National Headquarters and does not include donations, in-kind contributions and grants from other agencies that support soldier programs.
The Central Texas – Fort Hood Chapter’s has raised more than $900,000 (at AUSA NEWS press time) for those affected by the tragic shooting on Nov. 5 is one example of chapters living up to the motto – "Support for the Soldier."
As a leader in America’s Army, your membership means even more.
Whether as an officer, warrant officer or NCO in the active or reserve components, your membership demonstrates a commitment: To make our Army a better Army.
Your membership makes it possible for those selfless volunteers to continue to support your soldiers and families.
"Membership is another tool in your arsenal – taking what is available for your own professional development and using these resources to educate and inform your subordinates.
"It also affords the leader an opportunity to influence what the Association says as the ‘Voice for the Army’ and what it does to ‘Support the Soldier,’" Davies said.
Will you benefit from AUSA’s efforts and successes regardless of whether you join?
But, you don’t stand off to the side and enjoy the benefits secured by others who preceded you or serve alongside you now in military service – you stepped forward to make the Army and the country stronger.
We are asking you to step forward to make your association – AUSA – stronger.
Together we can protect what you’ve earned and secure for you the resources for success.