Austin picked as location for new command to transform the Army

The Army has selected Austin, Texas, for its “entrepreneurial spirit” and “quality of life” as the location for its new Futures Command, which is charged with transforming the service into a more modern, innovative force.

“Our vision describes the Army of 2028, one that is ready to deploy, fight, and win decisively against any adversary anytime, anywhere,” said Army Secretary Mark Esper in making the announcement Friday.

“That Army will employ manned and unmanned ground combat vehicles, aircraft, sustainment systems, and weapons, and it will be centered on exceptional leaders and soldiers of unmatched lethality,” he said.

The Army says the creation of its Futures Command is the most significant Army reorganization effort since 1973 and is intended to consolidate the Army’s entire modernization process under one roof.

“The character of war is fundamentally changing,” Esper said. “Whoever gets there first will have unmatched lethality on the battlefield for years to come.”

The command will have a headquarters in downtown Austin, but will be placing its soldiers and civilian workers in private companies that are involved on the cutting edge of innovation in so-called “incubator labs.”

“We have some critical technologies out there that are essential to fulfilling our modernization priorities, whether it’s directed energy for air missile defense, whether it’s hypersonics for long-range precision fires, whether it’s robotics and artificial intelligence for our next generational combat vehicle,” Esper said.

Austin won out over Boston; Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.; and Raleigh-Durham, N.C., because of its access to key partners, quality of life, and cost of living, the Army said.

New technologies will fundamentally change the way ground combat is fought in the future from drones to cyber warfare to weapons systems capable of machine learning.

“We don’t and didn’t have an organization solely dedicated to that,” said Gen. Mark Milley, Army chief of staff.

“No one was solely dedicated to looking into the deep future and determine the implications to the United States Army in the conduct of ground combat for this changing character of war that we are coming to grips with. And we needed to dedicate a single organization to do that,” Milley said.

The Army says it will take a year to get the new command up and running and to begin to move personnel to Austin.

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