Raleigh, North Carolina, is one of five finalists to host the army's new Futures Command headquarters. Photo by James Willamor via Wikicommons
A list of 15 cities that could host a headquarters for the U.S. Army’s new Futures Command has been whittled to five, of which two still await visits from an information-gathering team ahead of potential in-person stopovers by the number-two uniformed and civilian service officials.
Ten cities — Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle — have been scrubbed from the running to host up to 500 personnel of the new unit that will oversee all Army modernization, research and scientific endeavors. Lawmakers representing those cities were notified recently that the metropolitan areas did not meet the Army’s criteria, which include a mixture of academic, economic and industrial amenities.
Army Futures Command (AFC) will focus on the service’s six modernization priorities, one of which is the Future Vertical Lift family of vertical-lift aircraft envisioned as an eventual replacement for the Boeing AH-64 Apache and CH-47 Chinook and Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters.
From those visits, the team will recommend some number for Undersecretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy and Vice Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville to visit in person. The visits must occur soon to meet McCarthy’s deadline for announcing the final city by the end of June, Seiber said.
“If the secretary intends to announce final location by the end of the month, that’s not a lot of time,” he said. “They still have to visit and then crunch the data.”
AFC will be made up of existing Army organizations like the Army Combat Integration Command (ARCIC), Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) and Research Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM).
Current Army Deputy Chief of Staff G-8 Lt. Gen. John Murray, according to Inside Defense, has been tapped to lead AFC, but must be nominated and vetted and approved by the Senate before assuming command.
Later this summer, at initial operational capability (IOC), AFC likely will consist of a commander and about 150 to 200 people working out of the Pentagon or a Washington, D.C.-area federal building, according to Army sources. Its core headquarters will eventually move to the host city chosen by army leadership based on its relative attributes in several specific categories.
Each locale was chosen, using census and economic data, according to a list of weighted criteria atop which sat access to an innovative, technical workforce. Nearby research, scientific and academic institutions also boosted a city’s score. Quality of life also was a factor in culling the list of potential seats for the new command.
Instead of scoring the cities and announcing a winner, the task force will submit an ordered list of recommendations to Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and Secretary Mark Esper, who will make the final call.