Army Futures Command leaders engage with Texas national security innovators

By Maureena Thompson, Army Futures CommandSeptember 1, 2022

Lt. Gen. Thomas H. Todd III of AFC speaks at the Army Software Factory in Austin, Texas.
Lt. Gen. Thomas H. Todd III, Deputy Commanding General for Acquisition and Systems and Chief Innovation Officer at Army Futures Command, speaks to members of the Texas-based National Security Innovation Council at the Army Software Factory in Austin, Texas, on Aug. 30, 2022. “We’re passionate about making a difference for our Soldiers,” Todd said. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Anthony Sualog, Army Futures Command) VIEW ORIGINAL

AUSTIN, Texas — U.S. Army Futures Command, headquartered in Austin, invests in and engages with Texans regularly as part of its Army modernization effort.

In 2021, the command contributed a $371 million economic output to the Texas economy, with more than 2,200 direct and indirect jobs supporting AFC headquarters.

The command also meets frequently with state and local government officials, area organizations and Texas businesses and universities to promote the Army mission and engage innovators, entrepreneurs, researchers and technologists in advancing priority modernization activities.

On Aug. 30, Lt. Gen. Thomas H. Todd III, deputy commanding general for acquisition and systems and chief innovation officer at AFC, and Brig. Gen. Michelle M. T. Letcher, AFC chief of staff, met with members of the National Security Innovation Council, a Texas-based nonprofit organization, to discuss the command’s strategic investments in technology research and development.

“This is about the continuous development of integrated capability,” Todd said of AFC’s work, adding that “we have great flexibility with what we’re doing in research.”

He highlighted that AFC has awarded 187 contracts, including 45 major contracts, in Texas, all with the intent of “trying to better the life, better the capability of our Soldier.”

“What we’re always looking for is what has operational merit,” Todd said, noting that beyond optimizing speed of acquisition, the command seeks mutually beneficial partnerships that promote “agility and learning in real time.”

During the meeting, held at the Army Software Factory, Todd and Letcher detailed the scope of AFC’s collaborative ideation, testing and prototyping initiatives as well as the command’s desire to push the boundaries of the possible, including by enlisting the help of local trailblazers.

“Most of us in here like the comfortable,” Letcher said, stressing the inherent challenge — and importance — of consistently embracing change. She emphasized how an openness to and curiosity about the unknown, which often presents as “the uncomfortable and the disruptive,” can enable leap-ahead progress, both within the sphere of defense and within the local community.

National Security Innovation Council Director Jason Kelley, who also spoke at the event, expressed his confidence in the ability of Texans to deliver boldly on that front by applying dual passions for innovation and success.

“What do we know how to do in Texas? We know how to win,” he said.


The mission of AFC is to provide Army modernization solutions (integrated concepts, organizations designs and technologies) in order to allow the Joint Force, employing Army capabilities to achieve overmatch in the future operational environment.

The mission of the National Security Innovation Council is “to ensure that Texas is the partner of choice for accelerating national security problem solving.”

A recent partnership intermediary agreement promotes cooperative research and development activities between the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Soldier Center at AFC and the small business firms and educational institutions served by the National Security Innovation Council.