Army Futures Command, Texas A&M System announce $65M cooperative agreement to advance national defense
U.S. Senator John Cornyn joined the U.S. Army Futures Command and The Texas A&M University System to announce a cooperative agreement that will provide up to $65 million over five years to Texas A&M, supporting research into new technologies to help the Army Futures Command modernize the nation’s fighting force.
“Our country’s military readiness depends on innovation, and the Army Futures Command is on the front line of that fight,” said Sen. Cornyn. “This partnership with The Texas A&M University System will ensure we have the best and the brightest working to address rapidly evolving threats and maintain our strategic advantage around the world.”
The senator appeared at a press conference with Gen. John “Mike” Murray and Chancellor John Sharp after being briefed on the details of the agreement and plans for a $130 million combat development complex at the RELLIS Campus in Bryan and the Army’s plans for modernization. This investment is comprised of $50 million from the Texas Legislature during 2019 session for establishing an “Innovative Proving Ground” at RELLIS and $80 million from the Texas A&M System Board of Regents for constructing a “Research Innovation Center,” also at RELLIS.
The agreement between the Texas A&M System and the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Army Research Laboratory is the first step in a long-term partnership with the Army Futures Command.
“Army Futures Command is excited to continue our collaboration with various partners in Texas to successfully modernize our Army. The work conducted at the RELLIS Campus in the coming years will directly impact our soldiers’ readiness, equipment and capabilities,” said Gen. Murray.
Essential to that relationship is the creation of the combat development complex at RELLIS, a 2,000-acre campus with already almost half-billion dollars in new construction and with more on the drawing boards.
The combat development complex will help develop prototypes for defense-related hypersonics and directed energy in a one-of-a-kind, kilometer-long tunnel. It will have laboratories, runways, underground and open-air battlefields and a resilient network of sensors and systems for data collection, analysis and storage.
“The Texas A&M System is already contributing significantly to our nation’s defense with our duties helping manage the Los Alamos National Laboratory,” said Sharp. “We are proud that Army Futures Command has chosen to work with us on their important mission.”
Through the cooperative agreement, Army Futures Command has tasked Texas A&M System researchers to focus on several key areas. Specifically, the research will address hypersonic and laser weaponry; materials for withstanding hypervelocity blasts; coordinated maneuvering of air and ground vehicles; and resilient computer networks for autonomous vehicles to share up-to-the-moment battlefield information. Hypersonic is speeds of Mach 5 or faster. The U.S. military is making a major push to advance laser and hypersonic defense systems.
Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence and Judiciary Committees.