Army Futures Command officially begins operations in Austin after activation ceremony

Mayor Steve Adler speaks at the Army Futures Command Activation Ceremony on Friday, Aug. 24 in Austin.

Mayor Steve Adler speaks at the Army Futures Command Activation Ceremony on Friday, Aug. 24 in Austin.

In July, the U.S. Army announced it would bring its Army Futures Command to Austin–using the educational and innovative resources present in the Texas capital city to help the Army bring modernized weapons to its forces.

On Friday, as the Army Futures Command celebrated its official presence in Austin with an activation ceremony, military leaders provided more details on exactly what the new command will deliver.

According to U.S. Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley, Friday’s ceremony begins a phase the Army calls “IOC” – Initial Operational Capability – under the command of Gen. John M. Murray.

“It exists. We have a building. We have a commander and there’s some skeleton staff,” Milley said.

Murray will have six months to sort out logistics, hire staff and get the command off the ground. In another six months–one year from now–Milley said the Army Futures Command is expected to produce “outputs” for the military.

What would those outputs look like? U.S. Army Under Secretary Ryan McCarthy said one of the products on the fastest track is night vision display. McCarthy said the Army worked with video game companies to design improved night vision goggles–adding an interface that could make the goggles less bulky, add an interface for maps, or include synthetic vision for soldiers to train.

“In the next 24 to 36 months we can deploy this capability,” McCarthy said.

However, McCarthy cautioned patience as the Army treads new ground.

“This command will be like no other we’ve had in the Army. We’re going to have to adjust. We also need the tech community to be patient, we hope that they will,” he said.

U.S. Army Secretary Mark Esper said the measure of success for the Army Futures Command will be Murray and his team delivering modern weapons on time and on schedule.

“That doesn’t mean we won’t fail along the way. We will fail. I expect we’ll fail, because that means we’re trying,” Esper said. “We want to fail early and fail cheap.”

The activation ceremony included speeches from Texas Governor Greg Abbott, U.S. Senator John Cornyn and Austin Mayor Steve Adler. Also in attendance were U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and U.S. Representatives John Carter, Roger Williams and Lloyd Doggett.

Adler said the Army Futures Command coming to Austin was a matter in which city and state politicians were aligned.

“We have a real strong ally in the Army that’s here because of the Austin culture, because we help drive innovation here in an environment here that is encouraging. That’s why the Army is here. We welcome that partnership and that opportunity,” he said.


Austin ISD will offer virtual learning, expecting about 5% of students to apply. (Courtesy Unsplash)
Austin public schools release virtual learning plan

Austin ISD will offer virtual learning, expecting about 5% of students to apply.

student writing on paper
Texas Legislature allows parents to opt for students to repeat grade levels or courses

Senate Bill 1697 is effective for the 2021-22 school year.

Photo of a cupcake trailer
Austin bakery Hey Cupcake relaunches at Native Hostel

The long-time Austin cupcake trailer is making camp near downtown.

At Blue Gecko, a Texas Taco comes with seasoned ground beef, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, cheese and bacon. (Courtesy Blue Gecko)
New taco spot opens in Four Points; roadwork for Austin's Zilker Eagle continues and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area, including news on when Lou Neff Road will open in Central Austin.

The long-vacant St. John Site moved one step closer to its community-oriented redevelopment July 29. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Negotiations for St. John Site project move forward with focus on expanded affordable housing, community uses

Austin staff will now seek to finalize a plan for the 19-acre, city-owned St. John Site with its chosen developers based on City Council direction approved July 29.

The Zilker Eagle is tentatively expected to open Oct. 23. (Benton Graham/Community Impact Newspaper)
Roadwork for Austin's Zilker Eagle continues; Lou Neff Road closed through Aug. 7

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department said the delay allowed for park programming, including Blues on the Green, to continue.

The Oaks at Slaughter development will have several new businesses opening by the end of 2021. (Deeda Lovett/Community Impact Newspaper)
Shopping coming to Congress Ave.; Pflugerville preps tract near Living Spaces and more top Central Texas news

Read the top business and community news from the past week from the Central Texas area, including news on four businesses coming to Hutto.

Public schools cannot require students, teachers, parents, and other staff members or visitors to wear masks after June 4, Gov. Greg Abbott declared in an executive order issued May 18. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Leander ISD 'highly recommends' masks; tax-free weekend tips and more Austin-area news

Read the latest business and education news from the Central Texas area.

School supplies will be exempt from the 8.25% sales tax Aug. 6-8. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
What to know before the statewide tax-free weekend Aug. 6-8

Customers will not have to pay the standard 8.25% sales tax on select clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks under $100.

Photo of a building with solar panels on the roof
Austin Habitat for Humanity's ReStore uses discount home improvement to build communities

The store sells sustainable construction materials, clothes, appliances, jewelry, furniture and the odd novelty item.

The project will cause lane closures between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. from July 29 to mid-August. (Courtesy Austin Corridor Program Office)
Austin begins construction on pedestrian crossing signal on Burnet Road

The project will last from July 29 until mid-August and is funded by the city's 2016 mobility bond.

Photo of the Sobering Center
Travis County moves forward with plans for mental health diversion program at Sobering Center

The program would divert people experiencing mental health crises away from jail and towards supportive services following low-level offenses.