Army Aviation

Planning for the Future

President’s Cockpit / MG Jeff Schloesser, U.S. Army Retired: U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence commander and Aviation Branch Chief, MG Dave Francis hosted a superb Army Aviation Senior Leaders Forum at Fort Rucker, AL a few weeks ago.

MG Jeff Schloesser, U.S. Army Retired
34th President, AAAA
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Brigade command teams attending the Aviation Senior Leaders Forum at Fort Rucker gather in the Museum at the start of the annual Awards Dinner January 29, 2020 featuring AAAA Functional Awards and LTG Ellis D Parker Awards./ AAPI PHOTO BY BILL HARRIS

2002 cockpitHis fellow general officers and SESs from across the Aviation Enterprise as well as active, Guard and Reserve brigade commanders, command chief warrant officers, and command sergeants major all participated in this annual state of the Branch conversation. Special thanks to MG Francis for including us “gray beards” who are still involved in supporting Army Aviation in retirement. It was a great way to kick off what looks to be an exciting 2020 indeed. We heard from our Army Chief of Staff, fellow Army Aviator GEN Jim McConville, as well as many very senior leaders of our Army and of Army Aviation.

In this issue you will see some of the most interesting and useful topics we heard about at the conference. After Branch Chief MG Francis sets the stage with his lead-in piece, we feature Mr. Pat Mason, our new Program Executive Officer Aviation. We all congratulate Pat and wish him success as he moves up from Deputy PEO to take the reins. His article sets the stage for his six Rotary Wing Program Managers to detail in separate articles what they are doing now and intend to do this year within their charters. Also, in this issue we hear from COL Mike Demirjian on TRADOC Capability Managers and their role in supporting the Requirements and Acquisition process, as well as updates from our Reserve Component Aviation units, our Army Combat Readiness Center, and the 128th Aviation Brigade. Finally, we feature a fascinating article on the recent experimentation and proof of principal from the Army Futures Command Future Vertical Lift Cross Functional Team highlighting the SPIKE missile and its employment. It’s a great read and underscores the adaptive learning that new capabilities bring to our aviators and operators.

The first few months of 2020 will be exciting for all of us in or supporting Army Aviation. The President’s Budget is set for release early to mid-February, and with it will come months of budget hearings and posture statements by our most senior military leaders. The Congress will be eager to understand the details of the budget and its impact on current and planned programs. We at AAAA will do our part as we host the first Army Aviation Caucus of 2020 led by concerned Congressional leaders as well as the Aviation enterprise headed by MG Francis. This will be followed in late March by the Army’s down-selection of up to two competitors each in the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) and the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) programs. These decisions will impact the Army and Army Aviation for the rest of this century, and I cannot emphasize enough their importance.

In addition to all this, your AAAA team is in final preparations for our AAAA Army Aviation Mission Solutions Summit in Nashville, April 22-24. We continue to work closely with our Branch Chief MG Francis and his staff to make this the best summit so far. Our Chief of Staff and fellow Army Aviator GEN Jim McConville will present the keynote address – so, mark your calendars!

Lastly, I need to mention the success of our national Vice President of Membership, CW4 Becki Chambers, along with the critical work from our chapter VPs towards achieving our 20,000 members in 2020 goal. At last count as we went to press, we are now at 19,555 members. Super job! Let’s all pitch in and help those who might not know of our Association learn more.

I am certain 2020 will be a great year for our Army and Army Aviation, and I pledge to ensure that AAAA does its part to help our soldiers, families, and senior leaders!