HUNTSVILLE, Ala -- The 2019 AUSA Global Force Symposium is underway at the Von Braun Center. The event brings together Army supporters, soldiers, government and defense officials, and defense contractors. The goal is pretty simple.
"It really is the opportunity for the community to come together in a professional forum and also get together with our industry partners and for the soldier in the field. It's kind of about seeing the cool developments that are going to make them better," said Col. Richard Spiegel, the Director of Public and Congressional Affairs for the Army Materiel Command at Redstone Arsenal.
This is the 6th consecutive year the symposium has called Huntsville home. Over the course of the event, you can expect some 6,500 people to attend, many of them in uniform. Huntsville and North Alabama are home to some 900 defense contractors and the defense workforce totals some 70,000 people. Huntsville is the perfect place for AUSA to work on Army readiness now, and ten years from now.
"The audience is so great here. We have a lot of industry that's interested in being here. We have the Army and other entities, federal entities that call Huntsville home. We've got Redstone Arsenal, and it is a huge federal entity that has so many people that are interested in this topic," said Retired Lt. General Patricia McQuistion, who is with AUSA.
Over the course of the symposium, the attendees will find out where the Army is in terms of what it needs for readiness. Getting everyone on the same page might seem too simplistic, but the stakes for the soldier in the field are high.
"It makes us more effective. It makes us more efficient, and it is all about focusing on soldier requirements," said Retired General McQuistion.
The seminars and panel discussions are for registered attendees only, but the displays on the Von Braun Center South Hall Floor are open to the public. You do have to register and for that, you need a photo ID.
There's one other attraction that's hoping to draw every attendee. Defense Contractor Raytheon has a putting green set up on the south wall of the South Hall. It's free, and for every hole in one, Raytheon will donate a $100.00 to the Army Emergency Relief Fund. The fund is used to provide emergency money for active duty soldiers, their families and the widows of veterans.