In August and early September, your AUSA leadership team hit the halls of Congress to meet with key members and staffs.
Gen. Carter F. Ham, USA, Ret., AUSA president and CEO; Lt. Gen. Guy Swan, USA, Ret., vice president for education; and Sgt. Maj. of the Army Ken Preston, USA, Ret., director of noncommissioned officer and soldier programs, met with Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I.; Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J; Rep. Peter Visclosky, D-Ind.; Rep. “Mac” Thornberry, R-Texas; Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash.; and Rep. “Judge” Carter, R-Texas.
Sen. Reed is the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Rep. Frelinghuysen is the chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense (HAC-D), and Rep. Visclosky is its ranking Member.
Rep. Thornberry is the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), and Representative Smith is its Ranking Member.
Rep. Carter is a co-chair of the House Army Caucus and is member of the HAC-D. His district includes Fort Hood.
We also met with Brian Potts, staff director of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense (SAC-D); Bob Simmons, staff director of the HASC; Paul Arcangeli, minority staff director of the HASC; and Becky Leggieri, minority staff director of the HAC-D.
These meetings were important because each one helps to maintain and strengthen AUSA’s relationships and our reputation as a “Voice for the Army” on Capitol Hill.
Each meeting was serious and productive.
General Ham shared his vision for AUSA, and going forward offered his desire to continue a steady dialogue with Congress. He wanted the members of Congress and their staffs to understand that AUSA is a valuable and trusted resource as the “landpower thought” leader.
General Ham also described the challenging balance which AUSA must strike as we not only represent our members’ interests, but also work toward what will be best for our Army and our nation’s national security for the long term in a resource-constrained environment.
Several of the members commented that they would value getting input from AUSA on where our membership stands on issues.
They also mentioned that when they are in their districts and home states it would be great to hear directly from AUSA members. They like to hear from their constituents in person.
General Ham assured them that we would work on improving the outreach from our chapter members to their district and state offices.
As an AUSA member, this means that important and influential congressional leaders care about what you think, and AUSA can help you share your thoughts with these elected officials.
I expect there will be more to follow on this topic, especially when we are on the other side of Election Day.
Until then, it is time to shift focus to our AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition, October 3–5, in Washington, D.C.
This year’s event promises to be even bigger and better than last year’s.
The Annual Meeting feels like the Army’s family reunion (except there are a lot more weapons on display). I look forward to meeting you there.
See you on the high ground.