The US Army today revealed that its new Futures Command, the first new Four-Star command to be stood up in the Army in 45 years, will be headquartered in Austin, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
The Futures Command will take the lead in establishing the path forward in everything from weapons procurement to defense strategy to training practices.
The Army says the long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, dating back to 2001, has delayed its ability to chart the future. Congress recently pounded the Army for $32 billion in projects which it started since the mid 1990s and then ended early, with nothing to show for the money that was spent.
Austin was chosen over the other finalists, including Boston and Minneapolis, due to its robust tech sector, and the proximity to the University of Texas, with its cutting edge research programs in fields like engineering.
The Army had said that it specifically did not want the command to be on an existing Army post, as a way to think outside the standard military mindset.
Analysts have indicated for years that the long slog in Iraq and Afghanistan had blunted the Army's forward-looking thinking, which led to major technological and structural advances in the years after the Vietnam War. There have been concerns that Russia, China, and other potential adversaries, had taken advantage of the Army's preoccupation with the War on Terror to take the lead in development of new weapons systems and new ways of confronting the battlefield of the future.
The Futures Command will include as many as 5,000 soldiers and civilians, but many of them will remain in their current assignment locations. It is unclear how many personnel will actually be located in Austin, and where in Austin the headquarters will be.
“The legacy of America’s freedom depends in part on the ability of our Armed Forces to remain at the forefront of technological advancement, expand our military’s power to assess threats, and modernize our defense. The State of Texas is proud to partner with the U.S. Army in establishing the Futures Command to harness the cutting-edge technologies needed to build an innovative, research-based foundation for our national defense," Gov. Greg Abbott said of today's announcement.