Southeast Development Leaders Join National Defense Gathering


Economic developers from around the Southeast were on hand at the annual meeting of the Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) in October. The 62-year-old organization held its 2012 meeting at the Walter Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

“There was a strong list of exhibitors there, and we made some very good contacts,” says Russ Rogerson, Executive Vice President for The Economic Development Alliance of Fayetteville & Cumberland County. Mr. Rogerson attended the event along with other county and regional developers from the Southeast. They joined officials of the Fort Bragg Regional Alliance in staffing a kiosk at the North Carolina pavilion. The N.C. Defense Business Association and the Fayetteville-based Braxton Bragg Chapter of AUSA also organized activities at the event that helped showcase the Fort Bragg region, which includes seven Southeastern counties. 

Among the activities taking place at the three-day event was an address by U.S. Army Chief of Staff Raymond Odeirna. Speaking at AUSA’s annual Eisenhower Luncheon, Gen. Odeirno spoke of changes to the Army’s role and needs in light of shifting national security priorities and mounting fiscal pressures. “In an increasingly complex and interconnected world, the Army also plays a critical role in shaping the strategic environment,” said Gen. Odeirno, who has held his current post since May 2011. “Our force has honed its tremendous skills not only in battle, but also quelling civil unrest, countering terror, demilitarizing former combat zones, protecting vulnerable populations and providing disaster relief.”

The emergence of new technologies is also impacting the Army and its mission. “We must take full advantage of the growth and development of new technologies to educate and train the Force for operations on land as well as in cyberspace,” Gen. Odeirno told the gathering. “Over the last 11 years of war, our Army has become a world leader in basic scientific research and applied technology in areas such as armaments, life-saving medical advances, nanotechnology, robotics, fuel-efficient initiatives and simulation,” he said. “Our efforts to develop the Force must keep pace with this technology.”