2018 AUSA Annual Meeting News
The 2018 Annual Meeting and Exposition of the Association of the U.S. Army, an event that drew more than 31,000 people, concluded Oct. 10 with the awarding of the association’s highest honor to ABC News global affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz for telling the American people about the strength, will and sacrifice of U.S. soldiers and their families.
“I know of no one who has done more to connect the American soldier to the American public,” said retired Gen. Carter F. Ham, AUSA president and CEO, who said Raddatz is a unique journalist and author “who unselfishly dedicates her time, talent and energy to telling the story of veterans, of soldiers and their families.”
Wednesday, October 10
According to Col. John Rafferty, director of Long-Range Precision Fires (LRPF) Cross-Functional Team (CFT), being the Army’s No. 1 priority for modernization places the CFT in an interesting situation. Briefing with team members at today’s Warriors Corner at the AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C., Rafferty noted the prioritization spotlight “also comes with the recognition that tough choices were made across the Army.”
“What we are doing answers the fundamental question of Multi-Domain Operations, which is a question of access,” he asserted. “Our whole purpose is to enable the penetration and disintegration of enemy anti-access and aerial denial (A2AD) systems. We achieve that by developing systems that ensure overmatch in range and lethality at echelon.”
In the aftermath of several recent decisions and actions, today’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) Cross-Functional Team (CFT) briefing at Warriors Corner at the AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C., focused on recent advancement and activity areas within the FVL arena.
Brig. Gen. Wally Rugen, director of the FVL CFT, opened the panel with recognition of congressional support in the fiscal 2018 and fiscal 2019 time frame, noting, “We really appreciate their trust as we come ‘out of the blocks,’ sprinting with a number of initiatives. And we are going to invest those resources wisely and earn that trust.”
Civilians who work for the Army provide vital cohesion for the service, Army Secretary Mark T. Esper said Oct. 10. “You are the continuity for the force,” Esper told civilian employees at a luncheon on the final day of the Association of the U.S. Army Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C. “This is how we will sustain reforms into the future.”
Civilians who remain in their jobs while military colleagues rotate in and out maintain key institutional knowledge, Esper indicated. “Department of the Army civilians will carry the ball forward,” he said.
The capability of the U.S. Army in Europe is vital in demonstrating the U.S. commitment to maintaining peace and security that endured through the Cold War has been revitalized. On Oct. 10, in the Warrior’s Corner presentation, “Modernizing the Tip of the Spear: A Lethal Modern Force, Ready for Dynamic Threats,” a panel of Army leaders who have spent the past year training and leading forces in Europe, described how they were meeting the challenges posed by being ready to counter a near-peer competitor.
The ultimate purpose of the U.S. Army Futures Command “is all about output. It’s not about process … The output is about the lethality of the American soldier. And ultimately, it is about the American soldier,” Gen. John M. Murray, commanding general of the new command, said Oct. 10.
That output will include new concepts to match the rapidly changing world, Murray told the national partners luncheon at the Association of the U.S. Army Annual Meeting and Exposition. “It’s not all about material, it’s also about concepts.”
Coalition warfare was the central theme of The Institute of Land Warfare’s Contemporary Military Forum, “Working towards Interoperability in a New Era of Nation-State Conflict” at the AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 10. In a year marking the centennial of the U.S. Army’s role in the battlefield coalition that won the great battles leading to the Armistice in November 1918, this panel saw U.S., British and Australian generals, together, looking at coalition warfare, as it is being done today in Syria and Afghanistan, and in the future, when it may involve, as it did a century ago, a tough, highly competent and technically proficient enemy.
Top leaders agreed during a forum on Multi-Domain Operations, that the Army’s new warfighting concept can only succeed if it is executed in synchronization with the other services.
Participants on the panel at the AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C., including Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, commander of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command; Gen. Robert B. Brown, commander of U.S. Army Pacific; and Lt. Gen. Eric J. Wesley, commander of the U.S. Army Capabilities Integration Center, concurred that for Multi-Domain Operations to work, it will require buy-in from each of the Army’s sister services, as well as a cultural change that busts through traditional roles each service is used to playing in war.
This morning’s Warrior Corner presentation at the AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition, led by the Army’s Air and Missile Defense (AMD) Cross-Functional Team (CFT), highlighted successful efforts credited to a close working relationship between the new CFT and the Army’s Program Executive Office (PEO) for Missiles and Space.
One of those efforts involves the ongoing testing and planned introduction of directed energy capabilities into the Army air defense arena.
The Pentagon’s No. 2 civilian leader strongly advocated the U.S. Army Futures Command and its leader, Gen. John M. Murray, as a key component in not just making the Army, but the nation as a whole, ready to “dominate and win” in the emerging great-power competition. “This isn’t just Gen. Murray’s project for the Army. This is about defending the nation,” Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan said Oct. 10.
Addressing a forum at the Association of the U.S. Army Annual Meeting and Exposition, Shanahan praised the Army and its leaders, who were in the audience, for their “push for readiness and reform.”
The Army’s Synthetic Training Environment (STE) Cross-Functional Team (CFT) has taken significant steps since its establishment Oct. 23, 2017. That was one of the messages presented at this morning’s Warriors Corner by a STE CFT panel that included Maj. Gen. Maria Gervais, deputy commanding general of U.S. Army Combined Arms Center and director of STE CFT, retired Gen. Peter Chiarelli, former Army vice chief of staff, Brig. Gen. Michael E. Sloane, program executive officer for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation (PEO STRI), and Mike Enloe, chief engineer for STE on the CFT.
With AUSA’s senior leadership and numerous conference attendees looking on, Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band performed a free concert on Tuesday night at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Annual Meeting and Exposition.
The concert took place in the main ballroom at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., and was co-sponsored by AUSA and Veterans United, a lender specializing in veterans’ home loans.
Tuesday, October 9
Day Three of AUSA 2018 includes a morning address by Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, the Pentagon’s chief management officer, and concludes with the Marshall Dinner.
In between, cross-functional team briefings continue during the day at Warriors Corner, Booth 7727 in Hall D.
The Army’s top three leaders fielded a host of questions on problems facing Army family members and either offered solid explanations or directed senior officers in the audience to take action to solve the problems or to find better answers.
It was probably no surprise that the first question, at a family forum at the AUSA Annual Meeting and Exhibition in Washington, D.C., to Army Secretary Mark Esper, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and Sgt. Major of the Army Daniel Dailey dealt with what the questioner called the “gross negligence” of moving companies in handling household goods on change of station orders.
The American homeland is more secure than it has been in recent years, thanks to the relationship between DoD and Homeland Security, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen said today at the AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C.
“The partnership between the departments of Homeland Security and Defense has made America immeasurably safer,” Nielsen said in an afternoon address that garnered a standing ovation from a mostly uniformed audience.
Innovation through business process reengineering is central to U.S. Army Futures Command’s mission. This is an area where improvement through reengineering has the potential to improve just about everything the Army does, making it all cost less and happen faster.
The importance of business process reengineering to the Army and its future was reflected by a talk at Warrior’s Corner on Oct. 9 at the annual AUSA meeting in Washington D.C. Robin Swan, deputy director, Office of Business Transformation, opened the talk by asking and answering a rhetorical question. “What the heck does business process innovation have to do with Warrior’s Corner? It has everything to do!”
The Army is more capable today than it has been in decades, and it will need to remain at the highest level of readiness as the “faint clouds of a coming storm” creep over the horizon, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley said in his keynote remarks at the Eisenhower luncheon at the AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C.
The need for a highly effective ground force is critical to the nation’s defense, he said, asserting “the faint clouds of a coming storm are visible on the horizon, and our first duty to our soldiers and our nation is readiness. Readiness today and readiness tomorrow to prepare for that storm.”
Today’s Warrior Corner featured a panel presentation with representatives from the Army’s Network and Assured Precision Navigation and Timing Cross Functional Teams (CFT). Hosted by the Network CFT, the briefings served to emphasize the cooperation existing within and between the Army’s eight CFTs.
The panel opened with a vision of the future Army network, with Angela Dalton, communications and networking systems group supervisor at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, describing a “more ‘morph-able’ mission network.”
Defense Secretary James Mattis has made being “ready and lethal” an objective for the U.S. military. The “Ready and Lethal” panel organized by the Institute of Land Warfare at the AUSA Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 9, brought together experienced speakers to examine what this means for the Army.
Lt. Gen. Laura J. Richardson, deputy commanding general of U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) opened the panel. She defined the Army’s objective as “achieving overmatch at every level through readiness and lethality” and set out the linkage between different levels of war by showing an illustration of an inverted pyramid with “tactical lethality” at top and “strategic impact” by the point.
The Army’s logistical support and sustainment organizations must improve their performance if the operational forces are to be ready to win in any future conflict with a peer competitor, Gen. Gustave Perna, commanding general of the U.S. Army Materiel Command, said Oct. 9.
“Our responsibility is to ensure that the maneuver commander has what he needs, when he needs it. Not when he asks for it, but when he needs it,” Perna told a forum at the AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C.
Karen Pence, wife of Vice President Mike Pence, says she is working to elevate the status of military spouses and to making a difference with spouse employment opportunities.
“Employment is the issue that we focus on the most in our office,” Pence said in an interview during the AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C. “I don’t know if we’ll be able to make actual change that’s going to help you get a job, but I do know that I can elevate the status of the military spouse just by speaking about them all the time everywhere I go.” One of the issues she is tackling is the bureaucracy spouses face when they move to another state with their soldier and find the license they hold in their career field is not reciprocated. Each state establishes its own licensing rules, and there are individual occupational boards and regulatory agencies that make it difficult to move around.
The Army must switch to an operational model geared toward fighting a large-scale, contested fight, Army leaders said Oct. 9. The leaders made their comments during a morning seminar at the AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C.
The Army has been focused on stability operations for 17 years, the panelists said, but now must focus on a potential multidimensional fight against a peer adversary, in contested and multiple domains, the four panelists agreed.
In this morning’s Warriors Corner presentation at the 2018 AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C., Army leaders outlined the status of the Next Generation Combat Vehicle effort.
Putting the significance of the NGCV effort in perspective, Brig. Gen. Ross Coffman, director of the Army’s NGCV Cross-Functional Team, observed, “As we stand here, surrounded by these beautiful banners and clean equipment, just remember that everything we’re going to talk about today and everything you see will be in the hands of the soldiers in a distant land, with mud caked on it and someone trying to kill them.”
Army Secretary Mark T. Esper praised congressional aides for their work on the 2019 military budget while Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley assured them that despite political turmoil DoD operates as an “island of stability.”
“Take a deep breath,” Milley said. "There have been tough times in America before.” Esper and Milley spoke at an AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition breakfast of more than 700 people, with most of them members of congressional staff.
Monday, October 8
The highlight of Day Two of AUSA 2018 is the Eisenhower Luncheon address by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley, but this will be a day with a wide mix of events, beginning with a morning appearance by Second Lady of the United States Karen Pence at a family forum and concluding with an evening concert by Gary Sinise & the Lt. Dan Band that is open to anyone registered for the annual meeting.
On-site registration opens at 7:30 a.m. More than 20,000 people were registered on Monday, 4,000 more than last year.
Concerned about the higher number of training and operations days many of its citizen-soldiers are racking up on the road to readiness, the Army National Guard is reviewing its policy on the requirements that have been in place for years.
As the Army National Guard continues to become more integrated with the Regular Army, training and operational requirements have increased and the traditional 39-days a year the Guard’s soldiers used to be able to count on is no longer the norm, Lt. Gen. Timothy J. Kadavy, director of the Army National Guard, said at a panel discussion on building enhanced readiness in the National Guard during AUSA’s Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C.
As the nation faces rapidly expanding and intensifying threats, it can benefit from the fact that the intelligence community has become more integrated and has invested in its infrastructure since the 9-11 terrorist attacks that trigger 17 years of constant conflict, the deputy director of National Intelligence said Oct. 8.
That ensures there are no crucial differences between the intelligence agencies in the military and at the national level, Susan Gordon said, filling in for her boss, National Intelligence Director Dan Coats, in a panel at the Association of the U.S. Army Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C.
The Army's new physical fitness test significantly raises the bar for combat readiness, officials said Oct. 8 at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C.
The test, which is itself being tested, is designed to replicate conditions a soldier would face in combat, said Maj. Gen. Malcolm B. Frost, who commands the Center for Initial Military Training at Fort Eustis, VA. The test is an 80 percent predictor of a soldier's ability to perform effectively in combat, Frost said.
The Army’s achievements in cyber operations, and the challenges it will face in the future, were the focus of a talk at the AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition Warrior’s Corner. Maj. Gen. Garrett Yee, military deputy to the Chief Information Officer, G-6, on the Army Staff, reminded the audience that they “can’t watch the news today without something happening in cyber."
Today, the Army needs to be ready, Yee said, for “cyber teamwork, protecting our nation and our people against cyberattacks, it’s not one entity, it’s an enterprise.” Yee recounted the Army’s cyber evolution. In 2010, Army Cyber Command stood up, followed in 2012 by the Army Cyber Institute. In 2014, the Army established Cyber as a co-equal branch of the Service.
The 2018 AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C., included a U.S. Army Futures Command panel presentation, in which representatives from multiple communities of interest presented an overflow crowd with their perspectives on the new command, some early command accomplishments, and the way forward.
“We’ve been doing a lot of talking and we have made a lot of decisions in the last year,” said Undersecretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy. “And much of how we will be successful in the future is how we work with industry and Congress as we proceed forward.”
The winners of the U.S. Army Best Warrior Competition were announced Oct. 8 during the Sergeant Major of the Army Awards Luncheon at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C.
The 2018 Soldier of the Year is Cpl. Matthew Hagensick, 75th Ranger Regiment, and the NCO of the Year is Sgt. 1st Class Sean Acosta, 1st Special Warfare Training Group.
Speaking in the Warriors Corner venue at the 2018 AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington D.C., Brig. Gen. John B. Richardson, director of Operations, Readiness and Mobilization, G-3/5/7, outlined the evolution and current vision for Army Reserve mobilization planning.
Richardson began by offering a historical perspective of reserve mobilization thinking in the years between Vietnam and Operation Desert Storm, noting the mandates of the current National Military Strategy/National Defense Strategy called for a new way to view mobilization.
The Patton Veterans Project aims to help veterans coping with post-traumatic stress by teaching them to make short, collaborative films about their service experiences, the group’s founder said at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C.
“The real test is the transformative process” said Patton’s Veterans Project (PVP) founder Ben Patton, the grandson of famed World War II military commander Gen. George S. Patton. “Can we get the veterans to invest in their own recovery?”
After years of tight budgets and advances by adversaries that have eroded the U.S. competitive advantage, the Army is “moving out” to reform itself and to modernize to be ready to fight and win any future war, Army Secretary Mark T. Esper said Oct. 8.
“These efforts amount to nothing short of an Army renaissance,” Esper told the opening ceremony of the Association of the U.S. Army’s Annual Meeting and Exposition. “The time for change is now. We have the vision, strategy and leadership in place to ensure the Army remains prepared to deploy, fight and win our nation’s wars today and in the future.”
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey kicked off this year’s Battle Challenge by leading the pack of some 60 competitors on a maneuver obstacle course designed to test physical stamina and tactical skills.
Now in its second year at the Association of the U.S. Army Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C., the Battle Challenge has replaced the sergeant major of the Army’s traditional run and breakfast once hosted for soldiers and NCOs attending the meeting.
Day One of the largest annual land warfare exposition in North America features the first major address by Secretary of the Army Mark T. Esper, unveiling the Army’s Soldier and NCO of the Year, and a lot of focus on the future, especially what it holds for soldiers and the defense industry.
This 64th Annual Meeting and Exposition of the Association of the U.S. Army is held for the 16th time at the Walter E. Washington Conference and Event Center in Washington, D.C., with a crowd of more than 30,000 expected to attend the three-day event that features more than 720 exhibits spread over 300,000 square feet of space, including nine international pavilions.
The Association of the U.S. Army is a growing organization in numbers and influence, its president and CEO said at an Oct. 7 dinner with chapter presidents.
Gen. Carter F. Ham said AUSA has more than 132,000 members today, up from 75,000 one year ago, calling it a “team of teams” because part of the growth has been in combining power and weight of association partners.