FORT SILL, OK (KSWO) -Hundreds of people from all over the world are converging on Fort Sill this week for the annual Fires conference.
More than 60 vendors are on post showcasing everything from radar technology to missile defense. Fort Sill is playing host to speakers from around the globe who will be giving presentations and holding breakout sessions on topics such as the importance of partnerships with our military allies and the value of the Field Artillery to the Army Operating Concept over the three-day conference.
The theme is "Fighting fires: Enabling maneuver." It focuses on development and integration for the Air Defense Artillery and Field Artillery.
Director of Outreach for Fires Center of Excellence on Fort Sill Lt. Col. JP Maddaloni says this conference is important because it helps focus on the state of Fort Sill.
"We want to talk about how we are advancing the Fires force in the future. How do we make sure our leader development is being done right here on Fort Sill and then most importantly how do we make sure that we are still connecting with our community. Again, with those great family members and everyone else that supports us here on Fort Sill," Lt. Col. Maddaloni said.
Deputy commanding general of the U.S. Army Forces Command Lt. Gen. Patrick Donahue says from an Army-wide standpoint, Fort Sill is important to the overall future success of the military as a whole.
"Fort Sill has a major role to play in the overall combined arms fight that we have whenever we go and the innovation we are seeing here is remarkable helping us improve the quality of our Fires force in our Army," Lt. Gen. Donahue said.
Lt. Col. Maddaloni says the electric Fires range on post that Fort Sill has been cultivating is a perfect example of the technological advancements that are being showcased at this year's conference.
"We've had the opportunity not only for our most recent MFIX exercise, that's our maneuvers and fires integration exercise. We've demonstrated a lot of capability on that range and I am looking forward to seeing that range used in the future, so it is a great capability that Fort Sill has," Lt. Col. Maddaloni said.
In April, that range held Fort Sill's first experiments using electronic warfare weapons, including two lasers and a rail gun. Lt. Col. Maddaloni says he believes when the conference draws to a close, it will be the entire community that should be praised for continued progress.
"Whether it's the friends of Fort Sill that we have that make all of our projects and initiatives a success and again this conference being just one of those ways that we can showcase not just Fort Sill, again this is one community…Lawton/Fort Sill," Lt. Col Maddaloni said.
The three-day conference will conclude on Wednesday afternoon with an optional tour of Fort Sill.
This year's participants have come from several countries, including Singapore and the United Kingdom. Four hundred people are expected to attend the conference in person, another 100 or more are expected to join online to hear the speeches.