One of my first duties as your new AUSA Director of Government Affairs was to work with the Resolutions Committee to develop the 2016 AUSA Resolutions.
After a review of the historical process for resolutions’ development, Government Affairs recommended and Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, USA, Ret., AUSA president, approved a new process and format.
Historically, through 2012, AUSA solicited member input for new resolutions by July of each year. Then, in October, the members of the Resolutions Committee were flown (at AUSA expense) to Washington just prior to the October AUSA Annual Meeting.
They were provided the member input and also received extensive briefings from senior leaders of the Department of the Army. The committee then refined and produced the resolutions, which served as the basis for the next year’s legislative agenda.
In 2013, the Army did not provide these briefings, and the committee did not meet before the Annual Meeting. Instead, the process was conducted remotely via telephone and email.
The 72-page resolutions booklet of previous years was reduced to a four-page glossy brochure. While this process change decreased the background information included with the resolutions, it also saved substantial travel and printing costs.
The brevity of the final product increased its usefulness for briefing members of Congress and their staff.
The timing of the resolutions process was tied to the October Annual Meeting, based on the AUSA bylaws. However, completing the resolutions in October is not synchronized with the Department of Defense (DoD) budget cycle or the Congressional authorization and appropriations cycle.
The Army budget, the Army Posture Statement and the Army legislative objectives are the formative information that the AUSA resolutions should be based on, and all are released in the February timeframe.
Although this year we went forward with completing the 2016 resolutions prior to the Annual Meeting, Government Affairs will work with the AUSA Corporate Secretary and Council of Trustees to modify the bylaws.
This would disconnect the resolutions process from the October Annual Meeting and shift it to the February timeframe, when the DoD annual budget request is released.
Government Affairs also modified the resolutions format this year. Gen. Sullivan’s intent was to bring the focus up to the strategic level and capture our priority resolutions on one page.
The lengthier detailed resolutions were maintained, but they were nested under the priority resolutions. This format change will increase our effectiveness on Capitol Hill as your AUSA leadership and Government Affairs staff advocate for the interests of our Army and our AUSA members.
The 2016 AUSA Resolutions were informally reviewed by the Army. Following Gen. Sullivan’s approval, the priority and detailed resolutions were provided to all AUSA chapters for a vote. Approval was unanimous among those chapters that voted.
The 2016 AUSA Resolutions are available on the AUSA webpage at http://www.ausa.org/legislation/Pages/default.aspx.
From these 2016 Resolutions, Government Affairs will build a legislative strategy focused on the Fiscal Year 2017 budget request that will be released in February.
The next formal resolutions process, pending approval of a change to the bylaws, will be in February 2017.
However, between now and then, Government Affairs welcomes any member input for new resolutions.
Suggested resolutions may be submitted via the AUSA webpage – www.ausa.org.
(See related story "View from the Hill.")