North Texas is among 15 locations named by the US Army as finalists for a new Futures Command Headquarters location.
The facility would keep track of emerging technology and innovations that could be used in combat.
The Army said it wants to build the new Command facility near universities and technology companies to partner with them.
Southern Methodist University’s Lyle School of Engineering already has many connections to the Defense Department and defense contractors, according to the school's Dean, Marc Christensen.
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He said SMU would welcome the chance to help host a Futures Command.
“We’ve done work for Army Research Lab and other Department of Defense agencies for quite some time, everything from traumatic brain injury to advanced surveillance systems, advanced sensors, training protocols for different military personnel. This is something that we consider a core part of our portfolio,” Christensen said.
In a lab at the school Friday, students worked on the nose cone for a rocket to be part of a rocketry competition with other schools in June.
“There’s so many applications from just rocketry and aerospace, but also in the defense industry. It’s very similar concepts,” said Senior Trent Blake.
The Army notified finalist cities this week and asked for detailed information.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said he received a letter from the Army Thursday.
“We’re making the short list on a lot of different companies that want to move. They all look for tech workers,” Rawlings said. “We have more tech workers than any place in the State of Texas and one of the fastest growing in the nation.”
The other contenders are: Atlanta, Georgia; Austin, Texas; Boston, Massachusetts; Chicago, Illinois; Denver, Colorado; Houston, Texas; Los Angeles, California; Minneapolis, Minnesota; New York, New York; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Raleigh, North Carolina; San Diego, California; San Francisco, California; and Seattle, Washington.
The Army said the host city should have workforce expertise in biomedicine, chemistry, computer hardware and software, electronics, materials and mechanical systems.
North Texas is home to several big defense contractors, including Lockheed Martin, which builds jet aircraft in Fort Worth.
Raytheon has eight facilities in Texas with 7,600 employees including a new location in Richardson that specializes in government intelligence and information contracting.
“North Texas is a great place to be,” Dean Christensen said. “It’s a fantastic place to be an engineer. The quality of life is fantastic here. There’s a good work force, fantastic education institutions.”
SMU student Trent Blake hopes the Army brings even more jobs to the North Texas defense industry.
“I think it would be a really great opportunity, not only for the school but the region,” he said. “We already have so many great defense contractors in the North Texas region. I don’t see why they wouldn’t want to come this area.”
The new competition comes as North Texas remains a finalist for Amazon’s second headquarters with many of the same contenders as the Army Futures Command.
The Army has not released details of the project or when decisions would be made.
Amazon is requesting a site to host up to 40,000 workers and 1 billion square feet of office space.
The new US Army facility would be the fourth command-level operation in the Army. Officials say it's the most significant reorganization since 1973.