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Focus Areas: Fund, maintain, sustain, modernize Army

Monday, June 04, 2018

The Association of the U.S. Army’s leadership recently approved the 2018 Focus Areas.

The Focus Areas mark a milestone for AUSA Government Affairs and are already improving our outreach on Capitol Hill.

This concise list of 10 major areas (See Page 2 of AUSA News) provides a conversation-starter as we visit members of Congress and their staffs.

On one single page, we have created a strategic document that outlines key actions required to fund, maintain, sustain and modernize the U.S. Army.

Your Government Affairs team sent the Focus Areas to every legislative director and military legislative assistant in every Congressional office. We also sent them to the key professional staff members on the Armed Services Committees and the Defense Appropriations Committees.

This outreach sparked multiple requests from the Hill for follow-up meetings to talk through the Focus Areas.

Thus, new doors are being opened and new relationships fostered with the staff members on Capitol Hill who do the hard work behind the scenes.

The foundation of the Focus Areas is that our Army requires timely and adequate resources to perform its assigned missions.

The Budget Control Act of 2011 and the sequestration mechanism within it have done deep damage to our national defense, and it needs to be repealed.

Also, Congress has repeatedly shown an inability to pass defense appropriations by the start of the fiscal year, and the multiple continuing resolutions year after year have cost billions of dollars and slowed the progress of getting necessary capabilities to our soldiers.

Repealing sequestration and passing appropriations bills on time, along with providing the Army with an adequate portion of the defense budget, would go a long way toward restoring military readiness.

Our Army also needs more soldiers to keep our deployed units at full strength.

While recruiting is getting more challenging every year, growing the Regular Army by 4,000 soldiers per year through FY21 is achievable, and it will help ease personnel shortages without lowering recruiting standards.

For the reserve components, additional full-time support will help increase the readiness of our operational reserve.

Modernization was put on hold for several years as the Army prioritized highly constrained resources toward current readiness to meet pressing missions. As resources increase, it is critical to invest in capabilities to regain overmatch.

The Army’s Futures Command will also play an important role in streamlining processes, cutting bureaucracy and unifying the lines of responsibility into one command to improve the requirements-to-acquisition process.

The Focus Areas also address the military health system overhaul, Army civilians and military benefits.

AUSA will continue to monitor these issue areas and stand up for our members on Capitol Hill.

On the AUSA webpage (www.ausa.org), there is a downloadable copy of the Focus Areas.

We encourage you to read and understand them, so the next time you are recruiting a new member, you have a set of talking points regarding what AUSA is advocating for.

See you on the high ground.