AUSTIN, Texas (Jan. 26, 2021) – U.S. Army Futures Command participated in a virtual roundtable Jan. 25 with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based national security think tank.
Since 2018, AFC has grown from a small beachhead in central Texas to an organization with international reach and partnerships across industry and academia. Charged with advancing the Army’s modernization priorities, AFC seeks expertise, whatever the source, to find solutions to the pressing challenges of the current and future soldier.
One of the latest efforts is Project Convergence, an umbrella initiative housing numerous efforts to provide transformative technology for future formations.
This effort is a campaign of learning centered on ways to link sensor data to the right shooters through the appropriate command and control nodes. But during the discussion, Gen. John M. Murray, AFC’s commanding general, also made it clear that this is about more than just innovating the technology itself.
“Project Convergence is about much more than technology,” Murray said. “It is also about how we will fight in the future, and in many ways, how we will organize, and the talent we need for the future.”
Another issue AFC is directly addressing is software coding challenges in the field. The soldiers of today and tomorrow can expect to encounter the need for on-demand code-writing skills. This front-line ability will help solve real-time, tactical issues.
This is where AFC’s Software Factory comes into play.
This talent management initiative is seeks to gain momentum for soldiers to lead in the coding fight. Based in Austin, through a partnership with Austin Community College, this factory complements the Army’s digital talent initiative at Carnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburgh, Penn. Overlapping cohorts are open to civilians and soldiers across the ranks, enlisted and officer, as well as any military occupational specialty. Announcement of our third cohort membership will be made in March.
Responding to questions from the audience, Murray also discussed the success of the Army’s Multi-Domain Operations Task Force, which has rapidly transformed from an experimental unit to one with expertise sought by U.S. combatant commands.
The task force is anticipated to play a large role in Project Convergence’s 2021 showcase, demonstrating the interoperability of the highly-tailorable integration of a sophisticated Intelligence, Information, Cyber, Electronic-Warfare and Space unit, or I2CEW. This year’s showcase will be a Joint Force venture, including participation from the Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy. Multi-service interoperability is important not only when connecting the data systems of the differing American services, and those of allied nations, but also in the way systems communicate internally with one another.
Murray spoke about the many ways technology will impact the various levels of the future fight, including three areas of focus AFC has cross-functional teams addressing.
“The three technologies that I think fundamentally change the way brigade combat teams fight, and if you want to go even further, changes the character of war, are autonomy, robotics and artificial intelligence,” Murray said.
Throughout the discussion, Murray returned to two key concepts: that the Army is and will continue to be the dominant land force in the world, and that the Army is committed to being ready today and for the changes of tomorrow.