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WASHINGTON — The long wait is over. After announcing earlier this year that it would no longer hold its annual winter symposium in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., as it had done the previous 14 years, the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) announced today that its 2014 AUSA Winter Symposium and Exposition will be held in Huntsville, Ala., instead.
In February, the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau announced that it had locked up the AUSA convention for next year, and Michael Scanlan, director of industry for AUSA, said in the statement, “Raleigh is an ideal destination for AUSA due to its proximity to military installations, and with many area companies in the defense industry, it creates a great opportunity for AUSA.”
As it turns out, there was never any definitive deal in place, according to AUSA representatives.
In today’s statement, AUSA said that the Army Material Command, which is headquartered at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, will be “the featured command for the 2014 symposium.”
AUSA President retired Gen. Gordon Sullivan said in a statement that locating the 2014 symposium in Huntsville “with its close proximity to AMC headquarters will allow us to maximize military, civilian and industry attendance during this period of constrained budgets and limited resources. This is a superb opportunity for their professional development and remains very cost effective.”
The Redstone Arsenal is critically important to the Army, and its proximity to the show will most likely allow more uniformed personnel to attend next year’s event. In 2012, about 500 soldiers attended the show but in 2013, fewer than 100 were allowed to attend due to budget cuts.
Redstone not only houses the AMC, but also includes the Army’s Aviation and Missile Command; Army Security Assistance Command; Army Contracting Command; Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Command; Army Space and Missile Defense Command; and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.