AUSTIN, Texas – Members of the Texas House of Representatives visited Army Futures Command headquarters in Austin on March 4 to discuss the state of technology innovation in Texas.
The representatives – all members of the House’s Innovation and Technology Caucus – brought with them considerable expertise and enthusiasm for the forward-looking technology work the command is leveraging in the Lone Star State.
“National Security has always played an important role in the Texas economy,” said Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, Chair of the Innovation and Technology Caucus. “Having Army Futures Command investing in Texas gives every region an opportunity to play a role, whether that’s semiconductor fabrication in DFW, cybersecurity in San Antonio or aerospace in Houston.”
“Texas is proud of its role in keeping our nation safe; with Army Futures Command, we hope to solidify and accelerate that leadership position."
“Austin is becoming more than just a tech city, it is becoming a region of innovation,” added Rep. John Bucy III, Vice-Chair of the Innovation and Technology Caucus.
“From Dell in Round Rock to Tesla just outside Del Valle, we are seeing large-scale investments in the innovation economy all over the Austin area," he continued.
"We hope Army Futures Command can act as an anchor to accelerate the innovation we see from our startups, universities and even major multinational corporations – while also making significant investments themselves in our technology workforce and innovation ecosystem."
The bipartisan group met with command subject matter experts, who provided insights and updates on the command’s Army Applications Laboratory, Army Software Factory and Project Convergence.
The Army Applications Laboratory, which operates out of the Capital Factory building in downtown Austin, helps funnel big ideas from small businesses into priority Army modernization projects.
The Army Software Factory, housed at Austin Community College’s Rio Grande campus, teaches Soldiers and Army Civilians how to code software solutions to real-world Army challenges.
Project Convergence is the Army’s hands-on campaign of learning and experimentation designed to converge Army modernization efforts with those of the Joint Force. Through local partnerships, such as the one Army Futures Command maintains with the UT Robotics Center of Excellence, the Army is able to develop and troubleshoot new technology systems using the most cutting-edge resources available.
Col. Matthew Benigni, Chief Data Officer at Army Futures Command, welcomed the opportunity to share more about the work of the command’s Data and Decision Sciences Directorate (DDSD) during the visit.
“DDSD is enabling Army Futures Command’s digital transformation by employing modern data, information and knowledge management practices across the enterprise. Austin’s community of data and tech innovators with interest in national security accelerates our ability to employ industry best practices to deliver mission impact for the Army," Benigni said.
The conversation between Army technologists and House of Representatives members emphasized not only the importance of technology innovation, but also how conducive the state of Texas has been – and continues to be – to progress in this realm.
“Our partnerships here in the great state of Texas are indispensable to our Army modernization aims,” said Brigadier General Michelle M.T. Letcher, Chief of Staff of Army Futures Command, adding that “this is nowhere truer than in our tech endeavors.”