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AUSA 2021: Companies, US Army leaders converge on Washington with new kit and program updates

As Industry and US Army officials descend on Washington, DC, for the annual Association of the US Army conference (AUSA), running from 11-13 October, for the opportunity to mingle and show off new and improved defense technologies. Ashley Roque explores... 

Since last year’s event was virtual due to the ongoing pandemic, companies are racing to secure time with decision-makers to demo what they have been working on. A new administration has ushered in a sea of changes including the service’s first female civilian head, Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth.

While Wormuth has only been at the army’s helm for several months, she has defended the six modernization priorities — long-range precision fires (LRPF), next-generation combat vehicles, future vertical lift, the network, air and missile defense, and soldier lethality. While industry may have let out a collective sigh of relief due to her support of these development areas, she has hinted at looming cuts in a bid to trim fat and army belt-tightening measures are not expected to ease up in the coming years. 

For example, the army’s proposed fiscal year (FY) 2022 budget (not yet approved by Congress) cut USD3.6 billion over the FY 221 discretionary spending levels. This trend is expected to continue as the Pentagon looks for ways to fund navy modernization and increase its presence in the Indo-Pacific region.

With these moving pieces and question marks, all eyes will be on Wormuth’s guidance during the show and hits from senior Pentagon leaders who will also be attending. 

This year’s AUSA event will also be filled with in-depth discussions about the service’s role around the globe and a wide array of personnel challenges. As for equipment, here are a few programmatic topics and technologies sure to be in abundance:

  • Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV): 

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