A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the 2015 AUSA Annual Meeting & Expo in Washington, DC. As always, it’s exciting to see the cutting edge technologies at shows like this. AUSA 2015 offered a unique balance of technology, community networking, and informative sessions on current military trends and partnerships; there were over 35,000 attendees and more than 600 displays occupying five halls at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center for one of the largest military events of the year. This year’s event focus was “Win in a Complex World,” and throughout the week, the theme helped open up inspiring discussions around the history, current state, and most importantly, the future of the Army.
During the opening ceremony, Secretary of the Army, Hon. John McHugh gave a moving speech on the many challenges we face as a country, most of which are unpredictable. McHugh emphasized Army resilience and readiness and how the Army continues to expand and innovate to meet future challenges and prepare for the unpredictable. This was McHugh’s seventh opening address and his last AUSA annual gathering in his present leadership role.
Throughout the week, I had the opportunity to meet with several attendees, both government and industry, and discuss the unique technologies that are being used to support Army initiatives showcased during the event. The exhibit halls displayed a broad range of technologies from pioneering software technology to the newest weapons and vehicles. As new trends are emerging in the US Army and Department of Defense, I wanted to leave you a few evolving themes discussed during the 2015 AUSA Meeting:
- Green Initiatives and Standards
Buildings consume 45% of the electricity produced in the US and have the potential to reduce their energy consumption by 20-30%. Now more than ever, it’s important to recognize that standards are essential to maintaining the sustainability of our infrastructure – smarter buildings are the answer to meeting sustainability goals. With the DOD as the largest energy consumer in the US and discussions around another round of BRAC, questions arise around how to ensure sustainability and meet energy efficiency regulations. The federal government now has the capability to visualize real property datasets and GIS data to derive energy insights at scale and visualize building energy profiles across installations using 3D installation maps.
- Increased Federal Government Partnerships
The Army has shifted their focus stateside and emphasized their partnership with DHS with some people wondering why DHS is attending an Army show. It’s imperative that we realize DHS’s role in national security and the technology industry. We need to achieve a balance between basic securities and preserving our laws while still protecting our freedom, a task which relies on what government does as a whole. Both the US Army and DHS play a crucial role in protecting our nation; their joint partnership brings together all components working towards the same goals to better protect the nation.
- Situational Awareness
The environment the Army operates in is consistently changing and constantly indefinite – the enemy, the location, and the coalitions involved are all unknowns. It’s a priority for the Army to be prepared for the most challenging situations. There’s no doubt that Army’s ability to act quickly and efficiently to respond to missions is exceptional, however, technology companies supporting the DoD need to continue to produce innovative technologies and the DoD needs to continue considering alternative technologies to advance situational awareness. New cutting edge solutions around situational awareness are aggregating multiple data types to create a complete visualization of a complex situation for better situational awareness.
Today’s technologies and innovations exhibited at the 2015 AUSA Annual Meeting and Expo are the future of the Army. What is your organization doing to advance the Army in future challenges?