President’s Cockpit / By BG E.J. Sinclair, Ret.: As you know, the four pillars of our mission statement, to “Support the U.S. Army Aviation Soldier and Family,” are Networking, Recognition, Voice and Support.
Hosted by AAAA, members of the 115th Congress House of Representatives Army Aviation Caucus and their staffs are updated by top Army Aviation leadership on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017 at the Rayburn Building in Washington, DC. Pictured (l to r, front row) are co-chairs, Representatives Martha Roby, Mo Brooks, Rosa Delauro, and member, Marc Veasey. / AAPI PHOTO BY BILL HARRIS
Last month we really hit the Voice pillar hard on behalf of Army Aviation Soldiers and their Families.
First, the Army Aviation Caucus that we have supported and hosted since its inception in 2011, met for the first time in over a year. Caucus meetings had been delayed as the Army worked through recommendations from the Aviation Restructuring Initative and the Commission for the Future Restructuring of the Army. The Caucus has been reorganized with new co-chairs. Rosa Delauro (D-CT-3), Martha Roby (R-AL-20), and Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI-2) have joined founding chairman Mo Brooks (R-AL-5) as co-chairs and we had our first meeting on Tuesday January 24, 2017.
The Army Aviation leadership represented by MG Erik Peterson, Director of Army Aviation HQDA G3/5/7; MG Doug Gabram, com-manding general of Aviation and Missile Command; BG John Evans, commanding general of Army Special Operations Aviation Command; BG Tom Todd, Program Executive Officer Aviation; and COL Tom Drew, deputy commander of U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence, informed the Members of Congress about the current state of the Branch with special emphasis on force structure, manning and training challenges and the ongoing effects of past budgets on readiness.
Congresswoman Roby remarked how critical it is that Congress provides predictable funding so industry and the Army can properly invest efficiently in acquisition and modernization. Co-chair DeLauro also expressed her complete support and concern for adequate funding to keep the industrial base healthy and Soldiers properly equipped. Representative Veasey from Texas also had great follow-up questions for the briefers on unmanned aircraft systems
There were dynamic discussions prompted by Chairman Brooks on the possible impacts of the new administration on future budgets. For some time after the formal close, the over 40 congressional staffers present engaged in one on one discussion with the Army briefers. All in all it was one of the best ever Caucus meetings and the members left with a much clearer view of what you need to succeed in your mission areas.
The next evening, January 25th, we hosted the Senior Executive Associates dinner. Outgoing chairman GEN Jack Keane was unavoidably called out of town and new chairman, GEN Scott Wallace took the gavel. The same Army leadership that had addressed the Caucus addressed this group of retired three and four star non-Aviator general officers. Associates in addition to GEN Wallace included GEN Pete Schoomaker, GEN Paul Kern, GEN J.D. Thurman, LTG Roger Schultz, and LTG Frank Wiercinski.
After an initial written statement from GEN Keane was read to the body, discussion again ensued at a high professional level on training, equipping and maintaining the current force with a view to possible expansion. Like the prior day, these retired senior leaders left the room with a frank perspective on current and future challenges facing the Army and Army Aviation.
Bottom line is that AAAA is looking out for Army Aviation Soldiers and Families by making sure that key civilian and senior retired influencers are plugged in and are fully informed of the daily challenges faced in everything from combat to acquisition, logistics, and training. This is why AAAA is your Voice and one of the reasons you have told us you joined and remain members of the strongest branch association there is… AAAA!
We look forward to seeing you in Nashville in April at the Annual Summit!!
Above the Best!
BG E.J. Sinclair, Ret.
32nd President, AAAA