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AUSA: Connect with your Total Army soldiers and their families

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

One of our members recently commented on how quickly one can lose a feeling of a close connection to our Army.

Changes occur rapidly.

While he doesn’t expect to keep as current as he did while serving in uniform, he is a "Soldier for Life." He wants to stay engaged in supporting our Army’s current and future readiness.

While his transition to civilian life went very smoothly, it has been a surprise to learn how much his family members, even more than he, miss the connections that formed the basis of their lives while they were serving.

We understand.

In a sense, we are the U.S. Army’s extended family as well as its professional association.

Membership in the Association of the U.S. Army – AUSA – is the key to providing a voice for all components of America’s Army, fostering public support for the Army’s role in national security, and providing professional education and information programs.

AUSA carries Army voices to Capitol Hill, to citizens who support but may not know our Army very well and to our members by strengthening their bonds with America’s Army.

AUSA supports soldiers of all components, Army civilians, veterans, retirees and families.

We have 119 chapters in nine Association regions located throughout our nation and around the world, led by the most committed corps of volunteers – business and civic leaders, veterans and retirees, soldiers of all components and ranks, and our irreplaceable family members.

They volunteer to serve because they care. They also get tremendous satisfaction from the good they do in their communities.

Examples abound: scholarships, senior and junior ROTC support, veteran hiring events and housing summits, business networking, professional mentoring events, fun runs, staff rides, Army civilian appreciation ceremonies, to cite a few.

Like many associations today, memberships have declined over time.

We can point to a list of reasons why that has occurred but, for us, the more immediate questions are: "Why do people join AUSA," and "Why do we want more to join?"

There has to be value in membership. And really, only the members themselves can define what that value is to them.

It’s both a challenge and an opportunity to have such a diverse membership.

We hear that many of our members are most interested in our ability to engage with Congress on legislation that affects soldiers, veterans, retirees, and families. Many members value the business and community opportunities AUSA provides.

Some are avid supporters of the educational materials and forums – monthly editions of ARMY Magazine and AUSA News, Hot Topics and symposia, special family programs, the Institute of Land Warfare lecture series and books.

Many tell us they like the discount programs for insurance, travel and other services. The Army Ten-Miler and Annual Meeting and Exposition receive high marks from those who are able to attend these events.

Perhaps the single thing that provides universal value to all our members is the ability to stay connected with America’s Army and each other.

True, whether you are in the Regular Army, Army National Guard, or Army Reserve; a veteran with three years of service, or a retiree with 35; a spouse or other family member; a cadet at the Military Academy or in ROTC preparing to serve; a business trying to understand how to do business with the Army, or a citizen of the U.S. or an allied country who believes strongly in what our Army stands for.

Sgt. Maj. of the Army Ken Preston, USA, Ret., now serving as AUSA’s director of noncommissioned officer and soldier programs, has a great article on Page 10 of this AUSA News Special Report that says it best: "Now more than ever America’s Army needs AUSA, and AUSA needs your membership support."

In 2016, AUSA will celebrate its 66th birthday with a focus on expanding our individual membership. We believe in the value we provide in connecting to our Army.

We know that the value of engaging more people multiplies the benefits that build and strengthen our connections. We plan to keep growing valuable programs, and we will do that best if we have the voices of more members.

One element that is gaining great traction and support is our focus on young professionals. They are the future of our Army, our families, our business community and our professional association.

We’re expanding programs that provide education, professional development, networking, and mentoring opportunities that will help them advance in their careers.

The article on Page 15 gives more details about what is happening at national and local chapter levels, specifically geared toward our newer young members.

We’re also excited about our future and way we will reach our members to deliver value, according to way they define it.

We’d like you to join us and stay with us, and we don’t want cost to be a barrier.

So, we simplified our rates and lowered them for the entire year: Individual members, $30 for a two-year membership; $50 for a five-year membership; and $300 for a life membership.

And as a special rate for soldiers in the ranks of E1–E4, cadets and OCS candidates: $10 for a two-year membership.

All new and renewing members in 2016 will receive ARMY Magazine and AUSA News in addition to tremendous opportunities to connect with others.

Please see our membership application and a detailed list of current benefits and services on Page 16 of this special member report.

If you are already a member, you know that you cannot join a finer group of people.

We hope you’ll share this news and membership applications with others who share our values and seek the same goals – providing a Voice for the Army and Support for the Soldier.

Looking forward to staying connected with you,

The Staff and Volunteers of

The Association of the U.S. Army