HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- There's no mistaking the excitement at this year's AUSA Global Force Symposium. Not only is the theme for the three-day gathering "Modernizing & Equipping America's Army for Today & Tomorrow", but the Secretary of the Army was the opening day Keynote Speaker. His subject, the new Command, which will be the Army's fourth.
The goal is to speed development of the world's most modern equipment and quickly get it to soldiers. "Futures Command will focus on the future environment and the forces we will need at that time. Futures Command will assure that we have technological over match against the Chinese and Russians and any other potential adversary," said Secretary of the Army, Mark Esper.
He and other officials on hand made it clear that the Futures Command will be up and running by this summer, and fully operational by the summer of 2019. While there are things at Redstone Arsenal, like the "Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center", AMRDEC, that will move from under the Army Materiel Command to become part of Futures Command. The work, and workers won't change location. Also, the Under Secretary of the Army, Ryan McCarthy, said that the decision is still being made on where the Futures Command will locate, and though he wouldn't say Huntsville is a possibility, he didn't rule it out.
The Global Force Symposium in 2018 certainly about more than the Army's next command. It's also about what's going on in the defense industry now and for the future. Retired General Jim Rogers now works for Lockheed Martin in Huntsville, and he said the Symposium is crucial for the Army's plans. "You bring all these senior leaders from industry which are your partners together, and you can get more done in 10 minutes than you could if you had to travel all over the country to get hold of these guys. It's very powerful," said Rogers.
Col. Richard Spiegel is the Director of Public and Congressional Affairs for the Army Materiel Command, and he agreed the Symposium is a big deal. It's especially important when you consider it's about prepping for the future. It's about saving the lives of American soldiers. "What I want to see people leave here with is knowing that in 10, 15, 20 years, our equipment will be better than our enemies' equipment," said Col. Spiegel.
The Association of the U.S. Army is proud of the event, and certainly excited about the 7,000 expected attendees. Retired Lt. General Patricia McQuistion is now with AUSA, and told us she hopes people learn more about the Army through events like this, and support it. She also liked this year's theme. "The price of freedom, as Thomas Jefferson told us is eternal vigilance, and this is about being vigilant about today's requirements and tomorrows," said McQuistion.
The Symposium continues Tuesday and runs until noon Wednesday. Anyone may visit the exhibit hall after 10:00 a.m., but they do need photo I.D. and must register.