U.S. Army leaders are preparing for the 2018 Association of the United States Army's Annual Meeting & Exposition this week, where they will likely give key updates on everything from new equipment and weapons programs to a special effort to field a new dress uniform.
The three-day event, which starts Monday, will feature speeches from Army Secretary Mark Esper, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and other top leaders. Warriors Corner events will provide updates on Army modernization, personnel and pay issues, training the operational force and emerging threats.
Several Contemporary Military Forums will dive deep into discussions about readiness, lethality and sustainment, as well as recruiting and retention. As always, there will be a huge exhibition hall featuring about 700 exhibitors and 10 international pavilions.
"We are excited to provide you with a compelling schedule of events at the largest professional development defense forum in the country," said retired Army Gen. Carter Ham, president and chief executive officer of AUSA, in the organization's online show guide. "This year's theme, 'Ready Today, More Lethal Tomorrow,' will be prevalent throughout our event, in the sessions and in the exhibit hall."
For the past year, Army leaders have been pushing a modernization and acquisition reform effort that has yielded the new Army Futures Command, a four-star organization tasked with fielding a new generation of combat vehicles and aircraft beginning in 2028.
The special cross-functional teams responsible for each of the six modernization priorities -- long-range precision fires, next generation combat vehicle, future vertical lift, a mobile network, air and missile defense, and soldier lethality -- will present updates on their progress during Warriors Corner events. A separate CFT dedicated to the synthetic training environment will also provide the latest information on how the Army is working with augmented reality to create more realistic training for soldiers at their home stations.
Beginning this month, soldiers from 60 battalions across the active, National Guard and Reserve force will participate in a field test of the new Army Combat Fitness Test.
The new six-event ACFT will replace the four-decade-old Army Physical Fitness Test's pushups, sit-ups and two-mile run.
All soldiers will be required to take the ACFT and meet the new Army standard -- whatever that ends up being -- beginning in October 2020.
Maj. Gen. Malcolm Frost, commander of the Army's Center for Initial Military Training, and Whitfield East, research physiologist for the CIMT, will discuss "The Role of Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) in the Holistic Health and Fitness (H2F) Initiative" during a Warriors Corner event Monday afternoon. H2F is a larger effort designed to improve all aspects of soldier fitness by focusing on performance enhancers, such as nutrition and sports medicine.
A New Uniform from the ‘Greatest Generation’
During last year's AUSA meeting, Sgt. Maj. Daniel Dailey, sergeant major of the Army, unveiled the first round of prototypes of a proposed new Army dress uniform based on the iconic Pinks and Greens uniform soldiers wore during World War II.
Since then, Dailey has been seeking soldier feedback and, at times, defending the idea of fielding another dress uniform.
Last November, Dailey said the final prototype of the Pinks and Greens will feature a belted jacket, khaki shirt, and brown leather shoes for men and women. The uniform will be "historically accurate" to the uniform Gen. George C. Marshall wore as the Army’s chief of staff during World War II, he added.
The question now is, will Dailey and other senior Army leaders use the upcoming AUSA meeting to announce that the service will adopt the new look?
Stay tuned to find out.
-- Matthew Cox can be reached at email@example.com.