Austin will become the center of an effort to modernize the military, according to an announcement this morning from the Pentagon.
The last time the U.S. Army reorganized its commands was 1973. The Army at the time created the Army Forces Command, or FORSCOM, now headquartered in Fort Bragg, N.C., and the Army Training in Doctrine Command, or TRADOC, now located in Huntsville, Ala., in response to the Vietnam War and the end of the military draft.
“Military organization faces its crucial test in wartime. A cessation of hostilities usually brings substantial organizational change to correct imperfections exposed by the conflict, to take advantage of lessons learned from it, and to adjust to postwar conditions,” read the Army’s 1973 historical summary.
For 45 years, FORSCOM, TRADOC and the Army Materiel Command—established in 1962—were responsible for the organization and leadership of the force. However, the challenges the United States faces today are very different than they were at the end of the Vietnam War.
In a Dec. 7 speech to the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Armed Forces, Secretary of the Army Mark Esper said rising competitors with forces that match and “in a few cases exceed” U.S. capabilities are a growing threat, and “even in the absence of direct conflict with such states, we should expect to encounter their weapons and systems in the hands of others.”
“In short, our failure to modernize as quickly as possible will most likely exacerbate the significant risks the Total Army faces now,” said Esper, who announced Friday morning the decision to base that modernization effort in Austin.
“The Army chose Austin as a location for the AFC headquarters because it not only possessed the talent, the entrepreneurial spirit and the access to keep partners we are seeking but also because it offers the quality of life our people desire and a cost of living they can afford,” he said.
The Army sought headquarters located “near innovative and agile industrial and academic institutions,” according to its website, “in a place where the command will inculcate the culture needed to develop the innovation and synergy required to lead the Army’s modernization effort.”
After initially releasing a list of 15 cities of finalists, including Houston and Dallas, the Army whittled the list to five before announcing the selection of Austin over Boston, Minneapolis, Philadelphia and Raleigh, N.C. The new command will bring about 500 jobs to the area and will be led by a four-star general.
Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce Chairman Phil Wilson called the move a “major win for the Austin Mega Region.”
“It further reinforces our unique combination of resources – a deep talent base, innovative thinkers and high quality of life – that make the area so attractive,” Wilson said in a statement.
U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, released a video message on his website Thursday night ahead of the official announcement.
“Austin fits this mission as a city of innovation that values entrepreneurship, creativity and diversity,” Doggett said.
Mayor Steve Adler also commended the move.
“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 in a statement.
Under Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy said incentives were offered by the state of Texas, but declined to release the details.
From FOX 7's reporting partner Community Impact.