Southeast Commission Joins BRAC Task Force at AUSA Gathering

Economic development leaders from across Southeastern North Carolina joined state officials in showcasing North Carolina’s military-business amenities at the annual exposition of the Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) in early October. AUSA is a non-profit educational organization that serves and supports the U.S. Army, its personnel and communities. The Southeast Commission joined the BRAC Regional Task Force (RTF) and the North Carolina Military Foundation in sponsoring a business reception in conjunction with the expo, which was held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. The gathering featured Governor Beverly Perdue and N.C. Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco.

“We’re growing a presence at AUSA – not just the region but the State of North Carolina,” explained John Swope, executive director of the Sampson County Economic Development Commission, who participated in the event. Exhibitors at AUSA included leading providers of specialty fabrics, information technology services and aerospace equipment to the military. “We’re one of the few regional development organizations that were there,” said Mr. Swope, who had also attended the 2008 AUSA expo.

Sampson is one of 11 counties participating in the BRAC Regional Task Force, an entity charged with readying the communities surrounding Fort Bragg for the arrival of the U.S. Army Reserve Command and U. S. Army Forces Command as a result of the 2005 round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) recommendations. Some 40,000 military and civilian personnel and dependents are expected to arrive in the region as the Army completes its move from Greater Atlanta. “North Carolina’s Southeast has a very active role with the BRAC RTF, and our participation at AUSA is a great example of that,” Mr. Swope says.