After 10 years at war, the sacrifices of American soldiers and their families 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.
Despite this backing, military retirement and retiree health care programs are under attack by those who view the programs as "overly generous."
With the physical and emotional burdens on our Army and its soldiers and families increasing during more than 10 years of war, 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 also must ensure that our Army is properly equipped and manned to face the inevitable military challenges in an era of persistent conflict.
Now, more than ever, professional soldiers, and those who support them, need the help of this association to make sure that their extraordinary sacrifices are not viewed as "Just a Job."
Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, USA, Ret., AUSA president, has said: "Military personnel are not a faceless group – they are the one percent of this nation’s population that are willing to carry our colors into battle and to offer up their life in the process. When they retire from the front line, they should be given the respect and dignity of a reliable benefits package that will not be changed."
The Association of the United States Army – AUSA – has long been the leading voice among military associations, speaking out on behalf of those who are seen as "an easy target – a constituency that is trained to serve and sacrifice rather than complain."
AUSA also fights for the Army’s appropriate share of the defense budget, for maintaining Army end strength to address your concerns over too frequent deployments, 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, to 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.
As an AUSA member you will receive an electronic legislative newsletter each week that Congress is in session and you can add your voice to others by taking advantage of the prepared messages to the president and Congress that are available on the AUSA Web site.
As General Sullivan urges: "Let those who have the power to reduce your benefits know how such actions would affect you. After all, soldiers are the essence of the Army."
AUSA’s 2012 resolutions, adopted by our chapter delegates, highlight 210 separate initiatives supporting people, readiness and modernization – 210 positive initiatives important to you and to our soldiers and families – active Army, Army National Guard, Army Reserve, retirees and Army Civilians.
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 2011.
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 chapter 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 $1,750,000 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; it’s 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 and don’t be silent when others attempt to take what you earned.
It is time for you to step forward and make our Army and our nation stronger – and we are asking you to join us and together we can and make our professional association – AUSA – stronger.