Vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) are attractive for many pumping and direct-diode applications due to combined advantages in low cost, high reliability, narrow and thermally stable spectrum, high power scalability, and easy system integration, etc. We report our progress on electrically pumped, GaAs-based, high- power high-brightness VCSELs and 2D arrays in the infrared wavelength range. At 976nm, over 5.5W peak CW output and 60% peak power conversion efficiency (PCE) were demonstrated with 225um oxide-confined device. For 5x5mm arrays, peak PCE of 54% and peak power of >450W at 976nm, peak PCE of 46% and peak power of >110W at 808nm were achieved respectively under QCW conditions. External cavity configuration was used to improve the VCSEL brightness. Single mode output of 280mW and 37% PCE were realized from 80um device. For large 325um device, we obtained single mode (M2=1.1) CW output of 2.1W, corresponding to a brightness of 160MW/cm2*sr. Three major areas of applications using such VCSELs are discussed: 1. High brightness fiber output; 2. High power, high efficiency green lasers from 2nd harmonic generation. 3.34W green output with 21.2% PCE were achieved; 3. Pumping solid state lasers for high energy pulse generation. We have demonstrated Q-switched pulses with 16.1mJ at 1064nm and 4.9mJ with 1W average power at 473nm.