Senior leaders from Fort Hood joined Army leadership and Texas state officials on Friday in standing up the new U.S. Army Futures Command in Austin.

The command is expected to employ about 500 people, primarily civilians, and will operate out of the University of Texas System’s new downtown headquarters, which is surrounded by nearby startups and tech incubators.

The Army says it wanted to tap into that workforce.

Futures Command will assess the future operational environment, emerging threats and new technologies in order to develop and deliver concepts, requirements, future force designs and modern materiel solutions to meet soldiers’ wartime needs, according to the Army.

“There is a deep and enduring bond between the State of Texas and the United States Military, and the opening of the Army Futures Command represents the next step in that partnership,” said Texas Governor Greg Abbott. “With innovative technology companies, emerging startups, a rich pool of talent and world-class universities, Texas is the ideal choice to help launch the Army’s most significant reorganization effort in more than four decades. I want to thank Secretary (of the Army Mark T.) Esper, Undersecretary (of the Army Ryan) McCarthy and all those involved in bringing the Army Futures Command headquarters to Austin.”

U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Austin, also attended the activation ceremony. Parts of Fort Hood fall within Williams’ district.

“Today’s Army Futures Command activation marks a historic step for the United States Army and the State of Texas. I was proud to work alongside our military leadership to bring the Army’s modernization mission to Central Texas,” said Williams. “For nearly two decades, we’ve asked our soldiers to defend America across the globe in complex, uncertain and challenging environments. Whether tasked with deterring Russian aggression, taking the fight to ISIS in Iraq and Syria, or supporting our partners in Afghanistan, the Army has answered the call. Under the leadership of (Gen.) John M. Murray, I am certain that the Army Futures Command will fulfill its mission to modernize the Force and provide our war fighters with the equipment they need to fight and win on any frontier. I am grateful for the warm welcome that Austin has provided, and I am excited for all that Texas will offer our Army.”

Murray, who was promoted to a four-star general in a ceremony prior to the activation, was stationed at Fort Hood multiple times in his career. He previously served on post as commander of 1st Cavalry Division’s 3rd Brigade; deputy commander of 1st Cavalry Division and chief of staff of III Corps.

His last assignment was as the Army’s deputy chief of staff.

During the ceremony, the Army paid tribute to U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona.

“None of this would be happening without someone who’s not here today, and that’s Sen. John McCain, an American hero,” said Gen. Mark Milley, the Army’s chief of staff.

McCain was instrumental in getting the new command stood up. Hours before the activation ceremony, McCain’s family had reported he would be stopping treatment for an aggressive brain cancer. He died the following day, less than a week from his 82nd birthday.

dbryant@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7554

dbryant@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7554

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