Commissioning ceremony

U.S. Army Secretary Mark T. Esper speaks Friday inside Rudder Auditorium before commissioning 49 members of the Texas A&M University Corps of Cadets into the Army.

As part of his visit to Aggieland, Army Secretary Mark T. Esper took questions from local media members and spoke briefly on the Army Futures Command in Austin.

Esper called the Army Futures Command, announced on July 13, the “most significant reorganization effort since 1973.” It is, officials said, an effort to modernize the U.S. Army and prepare for future challenges, engagements and conflicts.

Esper said the command would be fully operational by this summer.

“Today, we had a chance to meet with folks at the RELLIS center,” Esper said. “Futures Command is looking to partner with any number of folks who can help us advance our modernization goals, and we think that Texas A&M offers us another opportunity to do that.”

Col. Patrick Seiber, communications director for Army Futures Command, shared specific ways that the Army is partnering with Texas A&M University System research and personnel. He cited the Texas A&M Transportation Institute and its work at RELLIS on autonomous vehicles as one of many ways A&M has contributed research to the Army’s efforts. 

“That’s something the Army is interested in,” Seiber said.

“Our number one priority as far as modernization goes is with long-range precision fires,” Seiber said. “One of the ways we get after that is through hypersonics and hypersonics research. Another one is air and missile defense. The way that we look at this is through directed energy, which is another research capability that A&M has as a strong suit.” 

Seiber said the command is also partnering with other academic institutions, and both he and Esper named the University of Texas System and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh as partners. 

Esper was at A&M to commission 49 new Army officers.

“It’s really my privilege to be here for this commissioning ceremony,” Esper said. “It was a fantastic day. This is a great institution that annually produces a fine crop of young men and women who raise their right hand and swear the oath to become second lieutenants.”

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