If all goes well next week, the U.S. Army could be able to officially name the leader of its new Futures Command tech facility in Austin.
Army Under Secretary Ryan McCarthy, who is in Austin visiting with leaders of the tech center, told the American-Statesman on Wednesday that he is hopeful the U.S. Senate next week will confirm Lt. Gen. John Murray as commander of the facility.
Murray, who joined the Army in 1982, has served in several command positions, including for military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. If confirmed, Murray would become a four-star general, and McCarthy said he would be at the Futures Command in Austin “as soon as possible.”
The Army selected Austin as its headquarters for the Futures Command in July after after searching for months and visiting multiple cities, including Boston, Minneapolis, Philadelphia and Raleigh, N.C.
Military officials have said the Futures Command will be the Army’s largest reorganization project since 1973. The facility will lead modernization projects for the Army’s top programs, including tactical missile systems, combat vehicles and helicopters, defense teams and weapons.
The Futures Command is expected to eventually employ about 500 civilian and non-civilian workers.
The Army, which has said it wants to make the Futures Command different than its typical military posts, selected Austin because of the large tech pool talent here and overall tech-friendly ecosystem.
On Wednesday, Lt. Gen. Eric Wesley said two-thirds of workers at the Futures Command will be civilian employees, with about 40 percent of those workers being specialized in high-tech fields such as software development.
In order to meet their goals, McCarthy said it will be crucial for Futures Command personnel to form relationships with the tech community in Austin. After visiting with Gov. Greg Abbott, Austin Mayor Steve Adler and UT engineering school dean Sharon Wood, McCarthy said he planned to meet with various entrepreneurs in Austin on Thursday.
“This is a massive undertaking by the U.S. Army,” he said. “Needless to say, senior leadership and the Army is paying very close attention as we establish our footprint here in the Austin ecosystem. So much about that is relationships.”