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Austin picked for new Army weapons development site

Tech, academic environment drove decision

Elements Of Modern Military Are Displayed On Capitol Hill
An Army sergeant tests out a high-tech combat outfit at the US Army Soldier Modernization Day expo in Washington, D.C.
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Austin has been chosen to be the site of the U.S. Army’s new Futures Command, an installation charged with developing new weapons systems and technologies for modernizing combat, KUT’s Matt Largey reported Thursday. Army Secretary Mark T. Esper made the announcement about the new site Thursday morning. Largey noted that Austin was chosen over other finalist such as Raleigh, Boston, Minneapolis, and Philadelphia, due to its “academic- and tech-focused culture” as well as what the city offers in terms of quality of life and cost of living advantages.

Government leaders who are often at odds politically formed an unified front in support of the project. U.S. Rep Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) wrote in an email that, together with San Antonio, “we have a partnership that will help our local economies by helping to secure our country.” U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) chimed in with a letter of praise, as did Gov. Greg Abbott. Austin Mayor Steve Adler expressed enthusiasm for the decision, KUT reported, saying that it is “great for our economy and presents endless possibilities to develop collaboration with our vibrant and thriving technology industry.”

While Abbott welcomed the site as part of the “historic connection between Texas and the U.S. military,” according to KUT, others echoed Adler’s enthusiasm for the contribution it will make to the regional economy and the enhancement of the city’s reputation for technological innovation and development.

Indeed, Austin leaders were active in seeking to land the project, with the Austin Chamber of Commerce and entrepreneur incubator Capital Factory working to get the facility in Central Texas, Largey reported.

The exact site of the installation hasn’t been chosen, but the Army is reported to be looking at space close to academic institutions, according to Largey. The Futures Command is projected to bring up to 500 military jobs to the area as well as attract defense contractors to the area, he added.

Austin Chosen As Site For U.S. Army’s New Weapons Development Post [KUT-FM]