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Texas Lawmakers Lobby to Attract U.S. Army to Texas with Tech Assets

The vision of new technologies, like battle-ready AI and hypersonic weapon systems, has leadership pushing for the state to be considered for a new military headquarters.

by Paul O'Donnell, The Dallas Morning News / May 3, 2018

(TNS) — The U.S. Army envisions a day when battles are fought and won with artificial intelligence, robotics, directed-energy laser and particle beams, and hypersonic weapons systems that travel at five times the speed of sound.

And Texas political leaders want the so-called Futures Command that'll develop the combat vehicles, weapons, and air and missile defenses of tomorrow's wars to be headquartered in the Lone Star State.

Dallas, Austin and Houston are among the 15 cities being considered for what's described as the military's biggest reorganization since 1973. The new hub would drive modernization efforts across the Army's three existing command-level operations at Fort Bragg, N.C.; Fort Eustis, Virginia, and Redstone Arsenal in Alabama.

"Texas is uniquely positioned to help the Army accomplish this mission," U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn wrote Wednesday in a letter to Under Secretary of the U.S. Army, Ryan McCarthy. "It is clear to us that the Army's Futures Command and the six primary modernization priorities represent an opportunity to shape the force of the future to confront these challenges head-on."

The Republican senators were joined in the letter by Gov. Greg Abbott. The trio touted the state's technology and innovation ecosystem, citing the success of the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental in Austin. That unit provides pilot contracts to companies for work that solves Defense Department problems.

They also praised the state's three top tier research universities, its robust corporate headquarters presence and its 15 military installations with more than 200,000 associated personnel.

Congressional delegations in other cities and states, such as North Carolina and Colorado, also are positioning for the tech center's 500 jobs. Besides the three Texas cities, other contenders are Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle.

In announcing the finalists last month, the Army said it wants to put the center in a city close to universities and tech companies with expertise in biomedicine, chemistry, computer hardware and software, electronics, materials and mechanical systems.

The Army expects to select a location this summer.

In an address earlier this week in Washington, D.C., Secretary of the Army Mark T. Esper described the Army's modernization plan in detail.

"So what's our vision for the Army, 10 years from today?" he said. "The Army of 2028 will be ready to deploy, fight and win decisively, against any adversary, any time and anywhere, in a joint, multidomain high-intensity conflict while simultaneously deterring others."

©2018 The Dallas Morning News Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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