As we close in on 10 years at war, the sacrifices of the American soldier and his or her family continue to be admired by the American public. The people’s respect and generosity, even in difficult economic times, remains one of the strengths of our nation.
With the physical and emotional burdens on our Army and its soldiers and families increasing over the years, we must be vigilant and vocal if we are to secure a respectable future for those who have given so much for our liberty and freedom. We must also position ourselves to face the inevitable challenges in an era of persistent conflict.
Now, more than ever, professional soldiers, and those who support them, need associations that remain focused on a quality land force and the weapons, equipment and technology our soldiers need in these challenging times and into the uncertain future.
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 – as a well respected, credible and dynamic educational association – speaks out on these issues on Capitol Hill, with the administration, in the media, and at the local level ensuring that the best interests of all soldiers and the well-being of their families are in the forefront.
AUSA’s 2011 resolutions, adopted by our chapter delegates, highlight 198 separate initiatives supporting people, readiness and transformation – 198 positive initiatives important to you and to our soldiers – active Army, Army National Guard, Army Reserve. Visit AUSA’s Web site at www.ausa.org to review these resolutions.
AUSA membership is important to you and your professional development for a variety of reasons.
As the Army’s professional association for over 60 years, AUSA keeps you informed about current issues through its publications – ARMY Magazine and AUSA NEWS; its Institute of Land Warfare papers and programs; and its Web page and social networking communications.
The AUSA Institute of Land Warfare (ILW) has developed a broad comprehensive program of activities that includes publishing professional research papers, newsletters, background briefs, Torchbearer special reports, essays and the very informative NCO Update.
All these publications are available at "Publications" on the AUSA Web page.
Col. John Davies, USA, Ret., director of the Association’s regional activities, said, "Many of the AUSA members I’ve talked to over the years mentioned the wealth of information AUSA provides and how they’ve used this in officer, NCO and civilian professional development sessions."
In addition to the publications, AUSA’s series of symposia and expositions, held throughout the United States and overseas, offer other professional development venues to educate our members and the public on soldier and family issues.
The highlight and centerpiece of AUSA’s year is the Annual Meeting and Exposition held in Washington in October.
Praised by senior officer and noncommissioned officer military leaders – and their civilian counterparts – as an outstanding learning experience, the three-day gathering is a comprehensive professional development forum attended by over 35,000 in 2010.
At the meeting you hear directly from the senior leaders in the Army and Department of Defense, see the latest equipment and you have the opportunity to talk with representatives from the companies developing and producing the equipment and technology. "Nowhere else will you have this opportunity," Davies said.
At the local level, 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 activities 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, the soldier family, retirees, veterans and civilians."
Adding, "Chapter members 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, chapters raised more than $1,550,000 for these activities, as well as for scholarships, grants, soldier recognition programs, wounded warrior support and many other worthwhile programs and projects.
"This amount does not include donations and in-kind contributions from our generous corporate and sustaining member companies, and grants from other agencies secured by chapters to support their soldier programs," Davies said.
As a leader in, or supporter of America’s Army, your AUSA membership means even more.
Whether as an officer, warrant officer, or NCO in the active or reserve components; a Department of the Army or Department of Defense civilian employee, or leader in the civilian community, your membership demonstrates a strong commitment to make our great Army a better Army.
Your membership makes it possible for those selfless volunteers to continue to support your soldiers and their families.
"Membership is a resource; its taking what is available to you for your own professional development and using these resources to educate and inform your fellow citizens, your subordinates, military officer and noncommissioned officer leaders, or your employees and customers.
"It also affords you an unequalled 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 don’t stand off to the side and enjoy the benefits secured by others who preceded you or served alongside you in military service.
It is time for you to step forward and make our Army and our nation stronger – and we are asking you to step forward and together we can and make our professional association – AUSA – stronger.