A months-long process has come to an exciting conclusion with the announcement that our regional partners in the state’s capital will become the center for the Army’s modernization efforts. In early summer, when the Pentagon narrowed its nationwide search for the home of Army Futures Command (AFC) to Boston, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Raleigh and Austin, your San Antonio Chamber of Commerce was honored to be included in an exclusive small group gathering. This last minute meeting between Army officials, Austin and San Antonio Chamber leaders, and City of San Antonio representatives championed the way for Austin to become the hub of this historic Army Command. Will Garrett, Director of CyberSecurity San Antonio, traveled to Austin to lay the foundation for the winning bid. As San Antonio’s military presence is well known and second-to-none in the Department of Defense, Garrett was also able to provide insight into our other strengths in Cybersecurity, Advanced Manufacturing, Aerospace, Biosciences and Medicine, as well as an impressive list of private industry leaders working in a robust and fast growing ecosystem of technology, innovation, and academia. The natural connection between Austin’s universities, researchers, and diverse companies will bode well for the same efforts in our great city.
AFC will have responsibility for Army modernization efforts through eight cross-functional teams; linking operational concepts to requirements to acquisition to fielding. The Army’s aim is strategic: to transform its modernization enterprise into a source of competitive advantage that U.S. adversaries cannot replicate. The original announcement provided cities with the indication that the Army was looking to beddown the 500-person headquarters in an urban area, where tech talent and private-sector innovation were growing, and where the military did not have a long-standing presence.
In the spirit of collaboration and support for Austin’s bid, in a letter dated June 19th and sent to the Undersecretary of the Army, Ryan McCarthy, Chamber Board of Directors Chairman, Shaun Kennedy, and President, Richard Perez, stated that a “partnership with Austin and the Mega Region will result in unparalleled access to research & development, innovation, emerging product development, and a vast pipeline of talent, which will help fulfill the needs of the Army’s top six modernization priorities.” The Mega Region is one of the fastest growing regions in the Nation, with a diverse, high-tech talent pool that already works with great synergy within industry and government.
Additionally, Chamber Business Member Executives from USAA, Rackspace, SwRI, and Accenture Federal Services penned their collective support to Undersecretary McCarthy stating, “As business executives in San Antonio, Texas, also known as “Military City USA,” we are confident in the ability of our community, along with the communities of Austin, Waco and College Station, to support the dynamic and innovative structure of the Army Futures Command.”
“This is the biggest organizational change for Army since 1973,” Army Secretary Mark Esper relayed in a Pentagon press conference this morning.
Austin and our surrounding region stands to gain many benefits as the 21st Century state-of-the-art Futures Command becomes established, the least of which is an influx of high-tech jobs and the distinct designation as the center of the Army’s modernization eco-system.
We extend our sincere congratulations to the City of Austin and to our Army partners on this monumental decision to lead the Army into the future here in Texas. Your San Antonio Chamber stands ready to connect, collaborate and share resources to revolutionize and create cutting edge technologies, transforming the Army for the future and ensuring the security of our Nation for generations to come.