Austin is on the U.S. Army's short list as a potential site for its Futures Command operations, an operational arm that would be focused on the development and deployment of new military technologies.
The Futures Command would be the fourth command-level operation in the Army. Officials say it's the most significant reorganization since 1973.
The Army has narrowed the list of finalist cities for Futures Command to 15, which in addition to Austin includes Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Raleigh, N.C., according to the Associated Press.
The Army this week notified officials in those cities that they are being considered for the new office, which is expected to employ about 500 people. The Army hasn't said when it would choose a site. Army officials began their search for a Futures Command headquarters last year, starting with 30 cities.
The Army says the Futures Command headquarters should be near universities and technology companies. It says the host city should have workforce expertise in biomedicine, chemistry, computer hardware and software, electronics, materials and mechanical systems.
"We want this headquarters to be located near leading academic and commercial institutions to harness the best talent possible in emerging technology and innovation," Army Undersecretary Ryan McCarthy said this week in a letter to the House Armed Services Committee.
In a post on the Army's official website, the characteristics of the Futures Command operations are described 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."
Additional material from the Associated Press and the Dallas Morning News.
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