Austin will be the home of the U.S. Army's new Futures Command, the installation intended to modernize the Army by developing new weapons systems and technologies.
In an announcement this morning, Army Secretary Mark T. Esper said the site in Austin will allow for an "entire modernization process under one roof." Raleigh, Boston, Minneapolis and Philadelphia were also finalists for the site selection.
At the briefing, Esper said the decision was a difficult one, but said Austin ultimately won out because of its academic- and tech-focused culture.
“The Army chose Austin as the location of the AFC headquarters because it not only possessed the talent, the entrepreneurial spirit and access to key partners we are seeking, but also because it offers the quality of life our people desire and a cost of living they can afford," Esper said.
“Austin fits the mission as a city of innovation — a community that promotes creativity, entrepreneurship and diversity," Doggett said in an emailed statement confirming the announcement yesterday. "We will now play a leading role in ensuring our national security. Together with our supportive neighbor, San Antonio, already known as Military City, we have a partnership that will help our local economies by helping to secure our country.”
Austin Mayor Steve Adler touted the potential economic benefit for the Austin area and the city's credentials as a tech hub.
"Innovation and creativity are intersecting with more industries every day, and it’s happening more and more in Austin, an international innovation capital," Adler said. "This announcement is great for our economy and presents endless possibilities to develop collaboration with our vibrant and thriving technology industry."
Sen. Ted Cruz praised the announcement as well, saying in a written statement that the Army "made the right choice."
"With the innovation and business growth occurring around our state, the many high-tech companies, and dozens of companies that supply all manner of advanced technology to our military, Texas is uniquely positioned to ensure the Army succeeds in this new mission," Cruz said.
Gov. Greg Abbott said the installation will add to the "historic connection between Texas and the U.S. military."
"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," Abbott said.
The Austin Chamber of Commerce and Capital Factory were involved in pitching Central Texas for the facility. The Army was said to be looking for sites close to academic institutions. The Futures Command is supposed to bring up to 500 military jobs and is expected to attract defense contractors to open offices in the area.