The Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce along with our partners at the City of Manhattan and Riley County have recognized this for a while and have coordinated a military relations program at the Chamber. Most of you are familiar with the program, managed by Janet Nichols, Military Relations Liaison. The Junction City Chamber of Commerce has a similar program.
It is obviously in our best interest to do everything in our capacity to protect, and hopefully expand, operations at the post.
Each year, representatives from Manhattan and Junction City attend the annual meeting of the Association of the U.S. Army in Washington D.C. There is a central Kansas branch of AUSA that encompasses Fort Riley with Rich Jankovich serving as president. AUSA is a non-profit educational organization that supports the U.S. Army.
In addition to attending the conference, the group meets with the Kansas consultant on military affairs and representatives from the Kansas congressional delegation.
This is my first year to attend and I can tell you that the Flint Hills region is well regarded by Army officials. We are learning about the Army's strategic planning heading to 2030 and the challenges they face including funding and recruiting.
We will also be advocating for a number of items including infrastructure improvements, employment opportunities for retirees and spouses, as well as fewer deployments for Fort Riley soldiers.
I am proud to be part of this group and look forward to bringing back information to our community on these critical issues. I would encourage anyone that has an interest in supporting Fort Riley to consider being part of this group next year. Contact Janet for more information.