CongressHot SheetMilitary

Colo. congressional delegation wants Army Futures Command in Denver

Author: Mark Harden - May 2, 2018 - Updated: May 2, 2018

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The Army was considering 15 cities, including Denver, for the Futures Command HQ. The unit will keep track of emerging technology and innovations that could be used in warfighting. (EvgeniyShkolenko, iStock)

Colorado’s entire congressional delegation has enlisted in a push to convince the U.S. Army to locate its planned Futures Command in Denver.

Both of Colorado’s senators and all seven of its members of the House of Representatives signed the letter dated Tuesday to Secretary of the Army Mark T. Esper, CC’ing the Army’s chief of staff, Mark Milley.

Says the letter:

The Denver ecosystem will provide the Army with unmatched access to the top talent, innovation, and research and academia critical to the Army Futures Command’s mission to keep our Armed Forces at the global forefront of military science and technology. Denver is a bastion for high-tech industry and innovation, and has a dynamic start-up environment.

The Army announced last month that it was considering 15 cities, including Denver, for the headquarters of the unit, which will keep track of emerging technology and innovations that could be used in warfighting, per The Associated Press. It asked each of the cities for detailed information.

The contenders are Denver as well as Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Boston; Chicago; Dallas; Houston; Los Angeles; Minneapolis; New York; Philadelphia; Raleigh, North Carolina; San Diego; San Francisco; and Seattle.

The Army says the headquarters should be near universities and technology companies. It says the host city should have workforce expertise in biomedicine, chemistry, computer hardware and software, electronics, materials and mechanical systems.

The Army hasn’t said when it would choose a city.

It would be the fourth command-level operation in the Army. Officials say it’s the most significant reorganization since 1973.

Here’s the full text of Tuesday’s letter:

Dear Secretary Esper:

As members of the Colorado delegation, we urge you to stand up the Army Futures Command in Denver, Colorado. The Denver ecosystem will provide the Army with unmatched access to the top talent, innovation, and research and academia critical to the Army Futures Command’s mission to keep our Armed Forces at the global forefront of military science and technology.

Denver is a bastion for high-tech industry and innovation, and has a dynamic start-up environment. Colorado start-up businesses attracted more than $670 million in venture capital last year alone, ranking us fourth in the nation for start-up activity. Incubators and accelerators in the Denver area include TechStars, Galvanize, and the Fitzsimons Innovation Campus. Furthermore, Colorado is first in private aerospace employment, third for concentration of high-tech workers, fourth for high-tech performance, and fourth for STEM-based economy. Denver’s top industries include advanced engineering, bioscience, energy and natural resources, technology and information, and aerospace. Additionally, locating the Army Futures Command in Denver would give the Army access to the 33 national labs across Colorado, including the National Renewable Energy Laboratory located in the western outskirts of Denver. Overall, the military and civil space missions located in Colorado have attracted the second-largest aerospace economy in the nation, hosting eight major space contractors and countless small and medium-sized companies.

The Denver area has a thriving academic community that graduates top scientists and engineers ready to enter the workforce, including top-tier institutions such as the University of Denver, the University of Colorado system, the Air Force Academy, and the Colorado School of Mines. Denver’s academic institutions attract world-class talent, millions in research funding, and have forged cutting-edge research partnerships that will support military readiness. The metro Denver area is also home to Buckley Air Force Base, a thriving military installation that houses vital national security missions and could provide support to military and civilian personnel and their families assigned to the Futures Command.

Along with a growing and vibrant tech and academic community, Denver is renowned for its high quality of life. Denver has abundant workspace options, encourages small business and artistry, and facilitates grants and apprenticeship opportunities. Home to Coors Field, the Performing Arts Complex, world-class breweries, and surrounded by unsurpassed natural scenery, Denver fosters a balance between innovation, success, and quality of life. Furthermore, the Denver International Airport is the fifth largest in the nation with easy non-stop connections to more than 230 locations across the globe.

Locating the Army Futures Command in Denver would also give the Army easy access to the assets of the entire Front Range innovation ecosystem. These include the hub of national labs and academic institutions in the Boulder area, as well as national security missions, cutting-edge incubators, innovation hubs, and research consortia in Colorado Springs.

We urge you to select Denver to host the Army Futures Command Headquarters. We look forward to welcoming your soldiers and their families into our community. The workforce and innovation that Denver draws will support the Army Futures Command efforts to ensure our Army is unmatched by adversaries. We are certain the Army Futures Command mission and personnel will likewise contribute to our blossoming innovation environment. With its growing high-tech economy, military and space installations, thriving aerospace industry, and access to superb universities, Denver’s location will provide the Army Futures Command the tools and partners in industry that will help grow and modernize our Army Forces.

Thank you for your consideration.

Mark Harden

Mark Harden

Mark Harden is managing editor of Colorado Politics. He previously was news director at the Denver Business Journal; city editor, online news editor, state editor, national editor and popular music critic at The Denver Post; and an editor and reporter at newspapers in the Seattle area and San Francisco.