JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - Cutting edge technology and new military equipment took center stage at the Military Equipment and Technology Expo held on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Oct. 2-3. <br /> <br /> Service members attending the event had the opportunity to interact with a wide range of products. Twenty-six exhibitors displayed a variety of weapons, body armor, tactical equipment and military vehicles. <br /> <br /> Attendees enjoyed browsing and interacting with the displayed equipment, as well as discussing and offering feedback on current and future military equipment needs of the soldiers in attendance. <br /> <br /> “It’s actually really fun, and you get to connect with a lot of people,” said Diego Rubio, executive program director for the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement. “At events like these you get to understand what the soldier needs, as well as what the private sector needs to produce in order to deliver the right product to the battlefield.”<br /> <br /> Rubio, a first lieutenant in the Pennsylvania National Guard, stressed the continued need for dialogue between military personnel and the private sector that produces military equipment.<br /> <br /> “We all know the men and women behind the equipment are going to be able to operate the equipment because of the training they receive,” Rubio said. “The real question is: does the equipment really work?” <br /> <br /> “This is why we are trying to get together,” he added. “We are trying to get ‘boots on the ground’ understanding of what soldiers need, as well as what the exhibitors need to know in order for them to deliver the right product to the soldier.”<br /> <br /> Soldiers at Fort Bragg and Fort Hood have already had the opportunity to experience the expo, but this is the first time the event has been held on JBLM.<br /> <br /> “JBLM is the largest Department of Defense installation and the largest joint base,” said Col. H. Charles Hodges Jr., JBLM Garrison commander. “We are probably the most representative of the entire DoD here at JBLM, so I think it only makes sense from a DOD perspective that this would be a great place to host this event.”<br /> <br /> Hodges noted the importance of events like these being hosted on JBLM.<br /> <br /> “It allows us to see the direction industry is going in terms of technology,” Hodges said. “You’re seeing cutting edge stuff here that could make us more lethal on the battlefield, save us money and make us more effective.”<br /> <br /> Rubio said he expects between 300 and 700 attendees per day for the two-day event and hopes the expo could become an annual event on JBLM.