WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 22, 2012) -- Soldiers and employees who cannot attend this year's Association of the U.S. Army, or AUSA, annual meeting and exposition can still watch events and panels online by visiting live webcasts listed at www.army.mil/professional.

Coverage will begin with the opening ceremony at 9:30 a.m. today, and include a follow-on press conference with Secretary of the Army John McHugh and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno. Eight contemporary military forums will be streamed live, along with three family forums. The Eisenhower Luncheon on Tuesday will also be webcast. In all, 14 events are planned for webcast.

Due to tight budgets, some personnel may not be able to travel to the exposition this year, officials said, but many will still be able to see a wide variety of professional seminars online.

Some of the highlights this year include seminars covering topics ranging from the Army's transformation to the future force and LandWarNet to rebalancing in the Pacific after more than a decade of engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I think this year's AUSA meeting will be really, really interesting," said Under Secretary of the Army Joseph Westphal, "because we're seeing, of course, some of the change and transition and transformation of the Army as we move out of these combat operations."

Speakers at AUSA this year include top military and civilian leaders from most of the major Army commands, including the active and Reserve components.

There will also be forums on Army families, retirement planning and a federal employee workshop. And, the Soldier and Noncommissioned Officer of the Year will be recognized during the Sergeant Major of the Army Awards Luncheon, today.

The International Trade Show will feature cutting-edge weapons and equipment displays, with industry representatives on hand to answer questions. A smaller number of Army command exhibits are expected this year, though, due to fiscal realities, officials said.

"AUSA is a unique professional opportunity to engage in healthy dialogue about the future of the Army with our industrial partners, Soldiers, civilian workforce, Congress, and the press who participate in this annual meeting," Westphal said.