July 13 (UPI) — Undersecretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy announced that after extensive consideration the Army Futures Command will be located in Austin, Texas.
The command, which was announced and stood up at a conference in October 2017, will coordinate modernization efforts across the Army, the Pentagon announced on Friday. Out of a list of several cities, Austin was picked for its proximity to both tech companies and universities with associated programs.
Senior Army leaders considered five cities based on proximity to STEM workers, research and development assets and low costs of doing business. The criteria was based on an analysis from an outside firm, as well as internal Army evaluations.
“Meeting the requirements of the Army Futures Command means moving beyond the walls of traditional posts and forts,” McCarthy said at a press conference at the Pentagon Friday. He said a team to investigate how best to establish the command was en route to Austin.
“As AFC personnel relocate to Austin, I want to make sure their focus remains where it has always been,” McCarthy said. “The Army is an industrial-age institution that is transitioning to the information age, we want to move at the speed of innovation.”
“This is a great opportunity for our city and our region as Austin continues to take the lead in innovation,” Austin Mayor Steve Adler tweeted Friday after the official announcement.
McCarthy said the command will comprise of roughly 500 personnel with different skill sets then most other commands.
“I think we all recognize that Russia and China are improving their military capabilities, and that we have been involved in a war with terrorists, guerrillas and insurgents for fifteen, sixteen, seventeen years,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley said. “With respect to the Army, that has meant that we have set aside major modernization programs in order to fight the current fight.”
“As those fights have wound down, we made a conscious decision two-and-a-half, three years ago now to maintain readiness for our current fight, which we will maintain, but to also shift gears and reinvigorate our modernization effort,” Milley added.
The Army wants the command to be located in an urban hub, not a military base or industrial park — Austin is located between major military bases at Ft. Hood and San Antonio.