Army announces 5 finalist cities for new command headquarters location

Army Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper outlined some of Army's key priorities for Futures Command and its potential impact to the force during the opening ceremony at the 2018 Association of the U.S. Army Global Force Symposium and Exhibition, March 26, 2018.


By DAVID TARRANT | The Dallas Morning News | Published: June 12, 2018

DALLAS (Tribune News Service) — The Army reduced its list of cities in contention for a new military headquarters where weapons and equipment for the future would be designed from 15 to five.

The short list includes Austin, Boston, Raleigh, Minneapolis and Philadelphia. Finalists notified Monday they were no longer under consideration included Dallas, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Denver, Chicago, Houston, New York and Atlanta.

Army teams visited Boston, Raleigh and Austin last week and are visiting Minneapolis and Philadelphia this week, according to Army spokesman Col. Patrick R. Seiber.

"The intent remains to announce a final location by the end of the month," Seiber said.

The Army announced late last year that it was looking to start up a new Futures Command to help it design and produce the kind of high-tech equipment and weaponry needed to fight wars of the future.

The new command will take charge of the Army's six top modernization priorities, including long-range tactical missiles, the next generation of combat vehicles and helicopters, air-and-missile defense and "soldier lethality," which includes the Army's next rifle.

Army leaders describe the Futures Command as a "hoodies and jeans" alternative to the stuffy, spit-and-polish culture of a traditional Army post. They want to create the kind of disruptive innovation emblematic of Silicon Valley's entrepreneurial culture to help them build the Army of the future.

To do that, they need to go where the talent lives.

"We want this headquarters to be located near leading academic and commercial institutions to harness the best talent possible in emerging technology and innovation," Army Undersecretary Ryan McCarthy said in a letter to the House Armed Services Committee.

For more than 15 years, the United States has been involved in wars of counter-insurgency in the Middle East and Central Asia. But the Army can't win tomorrow's battles with yesterday's army. It has to adapt.

In the future, soldiers will work as highly skilled technicians in a battlefield integrated with artificial intelligence and robotics. From new rifles to helicopters and air-and-missile defense, the Army is eager to modernize.

Already in the pipeline are improvements in weapons and equipment, such as developing the next generation of night-vision goggles to ensure their soldiers "own the night," Army officials have said.

Robotics and drones will also play an increasingly bigger role in the Army's future. Like air drones, robots could be used to explore dangerous or hostile locations while relaying information to commanders.

Two years ago, the Army selected Austin as one of its four locations for its own tech startup, the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental, or DIUx. The organization is headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., and along with Austin has offices in Boston and in the Washington, D.C., area.

The Futures Command will be run by a four-star general, and the headquarters would have a staff of about 500, most of them civilians.

Army Sgt. Michael Zamora uses a prototype Third Arm exoskeleton to easily aim an 18-pound M249 light machine gun during testing at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, March 14, 2018.

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