Army lobbyists seek members
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — There’s strength in numbers.
Or so the Association of the United States Army is betting, its president said. For the next few years, the nonprofit, pro-Army national lobbying group will work to boost its membership to increase its influence, said retired Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan.
“The way ahead is to get more members,” said the former Army chief of staff in a video address played to members Wednesday.
The 106,000-member organization, based in Washington, is holding its annual Pacific conference in South Korea for its members here and in Alaska, Japan and Hawaii. The group lobbies for pay raises and other military issues. Membership dues vary according to rank, from $12 to $38 per year.
The organization is a prominent lobbyist, Sullivan said, pushing ahead with agendas such as increasing Army personnel strength by 50,000 troops and supporting weapons systems such as the Comanche helicopter and Stryker lightweight brigades.
Earlier this month, retired Lt. Gen. Theodore G. Stroup Jr., AUSA’s vice president of education, told the House Armed Services Committee about AUSA issues, according to the organization’s Web site.
AUSA’s South Korea chapter has the organization’s highest number of corporate members, Sullivan said: Of the 1,170 corporate memberships, about 990 are South Korean companies.
“The Koreans open their arms and really take us in,” said Brig. Gen. Timothy P. McHale, U.S. Forces Korea chief of logistics.
Bob Jackson, president of the Pacific region for AUSA, said Koreans’ support helps fight “all of the forces in the world that would harm our way of life.”
AUSA’s attempts to recruit retirees, however, have been unsuccessful, Sullivan said, urging delegates to continue to encourage retirees to join.
The Pacific region still proves extremely important to the U.S. Army, Stroup said. Troops are “still at risk here in Korea from the threat that comes from the North. A lot of people forget about Korea and the soldiers here,” he said.