HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Early Monday morning the Concert Hall at the Von Braun Center was full. Soldiers, civilian defense workers, members of the Association of the US Army on hand for the beginning of this year's Global Force Symposium and Exposition. There are multiple missions for this year's event, but certainly Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle boiled them down to just one sentence in his welcome address. "We are here to serve the war fighter, and make sure that war fighter is the best equipped war fighter that the world has ever know," said the Mayor.
In the VBC South Hall you could see some of the equipment that makes America's war fighter what they are today, and for that matter what they'll be tomorrow. "So what excites me is the opportunity to come to an event like this and see our future. Now, I've lived the Army's past and here you can walk around all these exhibits and you can see the future of the Army and the future of the force," said Col. Richard Spiegel, the Director of Public Affairs for the Army Materiel Command.
The theme of this year's Symposium is "preparing for a multi-domain battle", a battle that's on land, on the sea, in the air and in the cyber world. It's the kind of preparation that calls for constant innovation. "It helps enhance the soldier's ability to fight, and it helps protect them and unburden them in some of the things they have to do, and provides them with great capability," said Major General Cedric T. Wins, the Commander of the Army's Research Development & Engineering Command.
No doubt the exhibits in the VBC South Hall show dozens of examples of cutting edge technology. The people who attend the panel discussions will hear a lot about the needs of the future battlefield. And then there's the fact that everything the Army does eventually boils down to people. "There are incredible soldiers, there are incredible Department of The Army civilians that just come to work every day, dedicating their lives to protecting this country and America needs to know that," says Lt. General (Ret.) Patricia McQuistion, the AUSA Vice President for Meetings and Members.
General McQuistion is hoping the Symposium will be part of passing along that message. She also hopes that people who take the time to check out the exhibits will also consider joining AUSA.
Anyone wanting to visit the South Hall exhibits only needs to bring a valid photo ID and register. There is no cost for that.