The future is not predetermined. The last 75 years do not guarantee the next 75 in terms of military or diplomatic dominance.
Conflict in the “gray zones” has expanded - that mean’s undeclared conflict such as the conflict in Crimea or a cyber-conflict. And the rate at which information spreads has lent itself to the creation of a high-velocity environment.
The US Army has come to Austin and brought with it a new 4-star command: Army Futures. Army Futures Command controls a nearly $50 billion dollar budget dedicated to R&D and materials development, and that’s why they’ve come to Austin.
Deputy General Eric J Wesley said the one thing the US military is not good at is changing, and things that change, die. So they wanted to come to a place where weirdness is embraced, and entrepreneurship flourishes, and hopefully have some of that spirit spread into the Army’s R&D culture. They are hoping that the Austin economy can help update the Army’s approach to technology. The days where military technology outpaces civilian technology are no more. According to Wesley, the private sector outspends the military 3-to-1 on tech.
Ironically, Army Futures Command’s arrival in Austin has brought several of the large defense contractors to town, but the traditional partners of the military are exactly the group that the Army is trying to avoid. While having more large companies come to town may be good for startups looking for partnerships, the real benefit is AFC’s commitment to the startup ecosystem.
Companies looking to get involved in the AFC ecosystem should visit the Army Applications Lab sitting at the Capital Factory. That’s the best place to determine how prepared your solution is for AFC, and what steps you need to take to make a deal happen.