But this time the Army association is turning its attention stateside and seeking to emphasize the service's major role in homeland security and its relationship with the Department of Homeland Security.
"While some people would say, 'What is DHS doing at an Army show?' I think the answer is it's a natural fit when it comes to protecting Americans from a variety of threats, ranging from cyber to terrorist attacks. The US Army, all components — active, Guard and Reserve — play a role," Lt. Gen. Roger Thompson (ret.), AUSA's membership and meetings vice president, told Defense News.
Some "take for granted what the National Guard does at home," he said. "What we do to support [the Federal Emergency Management Agency], the interaction of the border patrol and border security."
Four separate panels at the show will address this relationship Tuesday and Wednesday and feature topics like the Army and DHS's partnership, the interagency effort in border security, countering violent extremist threats to the Army and Defense Department personnel and facilities, and a look at the importance of Mexico to homeland security.
Another objective for the AUSA organizers this year was "to inspire companies that have maybe never been to our annual meeting before to come and learn about DHS and the business opportunities to support them with the best products and services and at the same time, to a certain degree, inform those employees at DHS ... about what the art of the possible is in technology, procedures, services and materiel," Thompson said.
But there aren't just six companies interested in interacting with DHS at AUSA, Thompson said. "There is a wide range of companies from very large to small businesses" that will reach out to homeland security entities this week.
AUSA waived the membership requirement for interested nonmember organizations that wished to display solutions particularly tied to homeland security from aviation, maritime, mass transit, and critical infrastructure security to cyber and border security to counter-threat intelligence, public safety and emergency response.
The company will also feature a pair of tethered aerostats, or airships — the Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System, or JLENS, that's currently watching over the area from Boston to Norfolk, Virginia, in dual missions: cruise missile detection and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. JLENS can now be seen in the skies above Baltimore. It's connected to the North American Aerospace Defense Command's architecture and will begin its operational evaluation later this month, according to Raytheon spokeswoman Keri Connors.
Also at AUSA, Logos Technologies will highlight a new contract with the Brazilian Ministry of Justice to provide Simera, a new exportable, wide-area sensor, for airborne security at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, according to a company statement. The technology is based on the Kestrel system used at US forward operating bases in Afghanistan since 2011.
Thales, a big player in security technology, touted, just prior to AUSA, its contract to provide surveillance and security to Mexico City using a global sensor-based surveillance system and command and control capability. Mexico City itself has said it has helped reduce crime by 30 percent, according to Thales USA's CEO Alan Pellegrini. Thales also provides physical security systems for places like airports and oil and gas outfits, as well as cybersecurity offerings.
Congress also seeks to re-establish a commission to assess the threat to the US from an electromagnetic pulse attack and provides the Pentagon authority to help secure the southern US border.
"There is no question that DoD and the National Guard are playing an increasingly visible role in the homeland security and disaster activities," one defense industry analyst told Defense News. And the services and the National Guard are keenly aware of the need to display that they are useful and critical to the mission in order to drive desired funding levels.
Jen Judson is the land warfare reporter for Defense News. She has covered defense in the Washington area for 10 years. She was previously a reporter at Politico and Inside Defense. She won the National Press Club's best analytical reporting award in 2014 and was named the Defense Media Awards' best young defense journalist in 2018.