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Insights from the 2021 Association of the US Army Show

As a former Navy guy, it’s not easy for me to spend several days surrounded by Army folks, but I made it through relatively unscathed!

After last year’s AUSA Show was canceled due to the pandemic, it was great to be back with this group. We got to see both the proven technologies currently being used for our Defense along with many new and emerging technologies to support future operations.

Our Top 3 Takeaways

  1. The Defense industry, while evolving, is still a big deal. Walking through the exhibit hall and seeing the household names like General Dynamics, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and Bell Helicopter to name a few, with their wares on display was very impressive. Supporting our ability to defend freedom has long been a sizable industry, and while the number of forces are reduced from decades ago during the Cold War, the need for significant technology and weaponry to protect us is still very real. We know that forces outside of the US and our allies will seek to negatively impact our way of life and we must be ready to defend it.
  2. In-person events with masks and vaccine/testing protocols are still valuable.As humans, the opportunity to connect face-to-face, even with a mask, allows relationships to grow deeper. Certainly, Zoom meetings and Microsoft Teams calls can provide a significantly lower cost for interaction, but supplementing those exchanges with some in-person contact is huge. It’s easy for most of us to get holed up on our offices and limit our outside interactions, so having an opportunity like a larger industry show becomes an important way to break up our regular routines and connect in new ways. Exploring ideas and making new acquaintances goes a long way to creating fertile ground for innovation and we certainly enjoyed the opportunity to do both at AUSA.
  3. Drones are the growing future of Defense. In some ways, two years doesn’t seem like much time, but these past two years have often seemed much longer due to the pandemic. One of the most striking differences between AUSA two years ago and AUSA this week, was the number of companies showing drone-related technology. Obviously, drones are not new, but the expansion of their use into so many aspects of the Defense industry is remarkable. From cargo carrying to surveillance to weapons delivery, drones are doing more than ever in the battlespace and that will continue to increase in the years to come. Accomplishing tasks that were previously only done by humans, using drones becomes a much safer way to go. Drones don’t provide all the answers, but their utility continues to be a larger part of the war-fighting toolkit. Of course, it’s gone so far now that we even saw drones whose sole purpose was to target, disable or destroy other drones! So keep your eyes to the skies and be on the lookout for drones as the new generation of Defense limits human exposure wherever possible.

It’s exciting to be a part of the Defense industry and see how it’s evolved since my years in the Navy. We still need to provide our military folks with the best capabilities we can to support the defense of freedom around the world. They are some of our best and brightest and keeping them well equipped should be a National priority.

 

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