Austin is one of five finalists to land a prestigious a new military command center that would be focused on modernizing the U.S. Army and developing new military technologies, an Army spokesman confirmed Friday.
Col. Patrick Seiber said Army officials have narrowed the list of possible sites for the Army’s Futures Command center to Austin, Boston, Minneapolis, Philadelphia and Raleigh, N.C.
Ten other cities that were previously in consideration – Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle – have been notified they are no longer candidates, Seiber said.
A team from the military visited Austin last week, met with civic leaders and looked at potential lease space options, Seiber said.
Phil Wilson, chairman of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, told the American-Statesman on Friday that he was certain Austin “could be a suitable home well outside the D.C. beltway for our Army’s new fourth command.”
“We strongly support our U.S. Army’s efforts to centralize and speed innovation to the battlefield under a new four-star general,” Wilson said. “We have 36 startup incubators and accelerators, 450,000 college students, 24,000 reservists, proximity to Camp Mabry, Operational Test Command at Fort Hood, medical R&D operations at Brooke Army Medical Center and Joint Base San Antonio, all of which would surround the Army Futures Command with new ideas. Our quality of life and cost of living for families is also very attractive, including for the 140,000 veterans who live in the Austin region.”
Military officials previously said a final decision on the Futures Command site could be made by the end of June.
"What we're looking for is to be in a city that has talent, that is innovative, that we have access to academia who are leading thinkers,” Seiber said in a previous interview with the Statesman. “We want to partner with the best and brightest."
Military leaders have described the Futures Command project – which is expected to employ about 500 people -- as the Army’s most significant reorganization since 1973. In announcing plans for the center earlier this year, they described the new operation’s objectives this way: "Modernizes the Army for the future... will integrate the future operational environment, threat and technologies to develop and deliver future force requirements, designing future force organizations, and delivering materiel capabilities."
The Futures Command center is expected to lead innovation for the Army’s top six modernization projects, including improvement to its tactical missile system, combat vehicles and helicopters, defense teams and weapons.
Army officials have indicated that they are seeking a high-tech, creative culture for the location, rather than a traditionally structured Army post. This, officials have said, should include a local workforce with experience in biomedicine, chemistry, computer hardware and software, electronics, materials and mechanical systems.
News on Open Source is free and unlimited. Access to the rest of 512tech.com comes with an American-Statesman digital subscription, which also includes myStatesman.com and the ePaper edition. Subscribe at statesman.com/subscribe.