AUSTIN — The U.S. Army decided to move the U.S. Army Futures Command to Austin and fill it with people who will be working on the technology our soldiers could potentially use 45 years from now.
But many may wonder if the Texas capital city was the right choice.
The Futures Command has been in Austin for six months now, working to get up to full staff. Its headquarters is located on Seventh Street in Downtown Austin.
Col. Patrick Seiber works as the communication director for Futures Command and said they are focused on establishing their military hires first before filling out their local hires from around Austin.
"It's going to be a wide variety of jobs that we're going to need," Seiber said. "Everything from administrative assistance to some who will work with a specific scientific technology background. We'll be doing a lot here."
This center will be looking to modernize the Army with new concepts, designs, and equipment that would be utilized in the future. Before Futures Command could start looking that far down the line, the leaders had to figure out where it would be located. The Army started by looking at our nation's top 150 metropolitan statistical areas, which includes cities with well-educated people. Army leaders asked a question to get it down to 15 cities:
Los Angeles, California
New York City, New York
Raleigh, North Carolina
San Diego, California
San Francisco, California
"How does it align with universities and patents and things that were being produced?" Seiber said.
The Army asked these 15 candidates to send in presentations for why their city made the most sense. Seiber also said they were looking for places that are connected to other parts of the country as well and other parts of our Army.
"Army Futures Command is not just here in Austin," Seiber said. "It is a command that is located across the United States, but the headquarters itself is located right here in Austin. A lot of the work that Army Futures Command is going to be doing is with the unity of command and the unity of effort reducing the amount of time that it takes for equipment, technique, and procedures to get to our soldiers."
The Army then narrowed it down to five cities:
Raleigh, North Carolina
The army sent teams to each city to do some research on the ground at the potential locations. After a debate, leaders decided to pick Austin.
"It's a beehive of activity that goes on here," Seiber said. "You've got businesses. You've got universities. You've got places like the capital factory, bunker labs, other innovation hubs that are right in here with all that type of activity."
Seiber said that his team has already met with representatives from the 14 institutions at the University of Texas, and they have partnered with the Chamber of Commerce to help connect them with a number of different technology companies in the area.
"The Army can't do this itself," Seiber said. "It's going to take the best of innovators, academia and the business industry."
While Seiber said a connection to the country was a deciding factor, the relation to other metropolitan cities in the state also helped make Austin the right choice.
"You just look up north to Waco, south to San Antonio, out to Houston, and to College Station," Seiber said. "The whole state is going to be involved."
Texas has a number of innovative cities with major universities -- close to one another -- each bringing something different to the table that the army can utilize.
"The spirit of Texans," Seiber said. "To be able to say, 'Hey, we're proud to partner in the defense of our nation."
In December, the U.S. Army Futures Command reached 100 people on staff, and they are still hiring, hoping to reach 150 by the end of January.
This is the first of a three-part series on the U.S. Army Futures Command. You can watch part two on Thursday and part three on Friday, starting at 4:30 a.m.on KVUE Daybreak.