By C. Todd Lopez
WASHINGTON (Oct. 10, 2013) -- This year, the Army will live-stream nearly every discussion panel that occurs at the 2013 Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C. Remote viewers will also be able to interact with panelists via social media.
Many Soldiers will not be able to attend the Oct. 21-23 event in person, due to lack of budget and restrictions on travel. However, the educational and professional development panels will be available to them online, and they will even be able to ask questions.
"We look at the Army part of AUSA as a great opportunity for professional development," said Maj. Alison M. Hamilton, of Army Public Affairs. "Live-streaming these forums will give Soldiers the opportunity to hear senior-leader priorities, learn how they view changes in the force over the next ten years, and hear about important policy decisions and the Ready and Resilient Campaign. They will also be able to ask questions, feel engaged, and be more connected to decision makers."
This year's AUSA will undoubtedly have an emphasis on declining budgets. But the symposium will also feature discussions related to military families, equipment modernization, the Ready and Resilient Campaign, energy security, regionally aligned forces, leader development, equipping the Army of the future, and the security of North America.
Live-streaming of the multiple panels will be available through a microsite on Army.mil, at www.army.mil/professional. Soldiers and family members will also be able to ask questions of the speakers at appropriate times through social media. On site at the convention, moderators will pass questions from remote viewers on to the speakers.
"If I'm in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, I'll be able to say my name and submit my question -- to address questions to the panel or to specific panel member," said Hamilton.
The Army has live-streamed AUSA panels in the past. But last year, for instance, only the "family forums" allowed for interaction. This year, all panels will allow for virtual engagement, Hamilton said.
"Every year the virtual audience increases," Hamilton said. "Last year the Institute of Land Warfare forums were not interactive. This year we thought about how to make it better, and encourage more to watch. We thought about giving them the ability to participate, feel connected, and get important questions answered."
Hamilton said every effort will be made to answer as many questions as possible -- but it will not be possible to answer them all.
Opening up all the panels for interaction is something that Hamilton said was requested by Soldiers and family members in the field.
"This is a cost-effective way to be able to reach a larger sort of total Army audience," she said. "We're trying to increase support to the Soldiers that can't travel, so they still can benefit from professional development."
Hamilton also said that multiple events will be live-streamed at the same time, and will also be recorded. Soldiers will be able to go back at a later time to watch panels they missed.