Army Future Command and It's Impact on DT Raleigh

So, I know if the Triangle is selected for Future Command, RTP will be its home, not DT Raleigh. However, I think we all need to take a second to think about the impact of Future Command on DT. I think this could have as big of a impact as Amazon or Apple on our downtown.

Just to give an example, the top 25 army contractors are the following: (Name)(Earnings)

|1|Oshkosh Truck Corp.|$6,002,080,699|4.11%|
|2|Raytheon Co.|5,975,394,243|4.09|
|3|General Dynamics Corp.|5,457,447,418|3.74|
|4|Boeing Co.|5,245,355,946|3.59|
|5|Lockheed Martin Corp.|5,232,059,841|3.58|
|6|KBR Inc.|4,641,065,467|3.18|
|7|Northrop Grumman Corp.|4,026,848,265|2.76|
|8|BAE Systems|3,607,004,069|2.47|
|9|AM General LLC|2,654,667,919|1.82|
|10|United Technologies Corp.|2,645,710,269|1.81|
|11|L-3 Communications Holdings|1,953,292,908|1.34|
|12|ITT Corp.|1,767,746,850|1.21|
|14|Finmeccanica Group|1,606,538,564|1.10|
|15|URS Corp.|1,533,721,973|1.05|
|16|Alliant Techsystems Inc.|1,506,076,392|1.03|
|17|General Motors Corp.|1,280,071,568|0.88|
|18|CACI International Inc.|1,033,792,716|0.71|
|19|Honeywell Inc.|984,060,788|0.67|
|20|Computer Sciences Corp.|952,872,871|0.65|
|21|Hensel Phelps Construction Co.|908,129,294|0.62|
|22|General Electric Co.|899,290,854|0.62|
|23|Shaw Group Inc.|878,899,705|0.60|
|24|Mantech International Corp.|816,393,354|0.56|
|25|Textron Inc.|801,756,672|0.55|

Everyone of these is going to have to open at least a small regional HQ to have access to Futures Command. There is a good chance a few of these will open up something quite bigger though. that is going to impact both office space and housing DT.

Oh and they announce tomorrow!


Thanks for bringing this back into focus @RobertB. I am looking forward to hearing the news and hope it is good.

N&O Article on Futures Command Announcement

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Interesting topic, I’ve heard about the potential of this happening but am not too familiar with it. Thanks for adding for discussion.

Looking at the top 5 on that list, 4 of the 5 already have locations in the state and the 5th (Boeing) has 185 employees in the state (according to their propaganda). Not to say that there won’t be growth, but they already have locations in the state (which explains why we’re in the running).

Great news if it happens, will certainly have a strong impact on our city. Thanks again for posting. Looking forward to that announcement.

The presence is limited to all of the top 5 in the Triangle. Oshkosh is just a truck service station in Fayetteville. They will need more regional office space.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of collaboration and opportunities the Army will allow with universities and the startup scene (and how integrated they will be with the Triangle at large), too, if (hopefully!!) they choose RTP.

It does make me wonder how some people in the region may take this, though, since most major industries around here are civilian-focused. I talk about development things with my friends and coworkers often, but everyone seems to be surprised when I tell them the Army is thinking about coming here (unlike Amazon or Apple, which everybody knows). …and… well, remember when people found out about Google and their partnership with the DoD earlier this year?

EDIT: clarified that I’m talking about the Triangle, not NC as a whole. Of course places like Fayetteville would be used to being around the defense industry; I was thinking on a more local level.

Update: apparently, we lost.

From the N&O:
The headquarters […] will instead go to Austin, Texas, Bloomberg News reported on Twitter, citing a “person familiar with the decision.” Two Congressional sources, who also were aware of the decision, also said Raleigh had missed out.

This is the tweet.

Anthony Capaccio (@ACapaccio):
Bloomberg’s [congressional correspondent Roxana Tiron] breaks: U.S. Army selected Austin, Texas, as the home of its new Futures Command, according to a person familiar with the decision.

Welp. It was good while it lasted, y’all.


Raleigh, Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride. Bummer Raleigh wasn’t picked. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for either Apple or Amazon headquarters to select our great area!!

Yep, pretty much. The same will happen with Amazon and everyone can stop worrying our quaint little city will change too much.

I’m more curious why the done deal of Apple hasn’t produced any announcement. Starting to think that was overblown hype, too.

This is disappointing news especially knowing Raleigh yet again lost out to one of our biggest rivals. While visiting Austin a few weeks back I couldn’t help but let my mind reflect on the old Charles Dicken’s classic with my escort being the Ghost of Raleigh’s Future. I was shown vast sprawl, stifling congestion, a weak mass transit system, gentrification spreading like a weed, abject homelessness, a unique and funky edge giving way to the power of money and influence, and Bird scooters parked inconsiderately on many sidewalks. More than a few locals confessed to me that the best time to live in Austin was about 15 years ago. It seems this town is becoming a victim of its own success.

I was in Austin for only a few days so who am I to judge? Be that as it may, my impression of Austin’s present, however skewed, is not the future I hope for Raleigh. This loss of the Futures Command is sizable in my view because this project wasn’t so likely to encourage hyper-growth as Amazon surely will. We need time to adapt and plan for Raleigh to grow in the best possible way. Darn it, the Future Command was just the right size to foster a healthy trajectory! I won’t be so dejected should we lose Amazon. Apple I can live with.

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Stinks about the Army. What I’m really worried about is Apple…that was supposed to be a done deal last month and now we’re halfway through July, and still no word. I wonder if they’re wrapping up some fine print stuff or if Apple is really having cold feet (and with our legislature, I wouldn’t particularly blame them).


Defense News | Why the Army picked Austin for Futures Command

The Army believes Austin will provide the new command with the tools to be disruptive, innovative and break the entire service out of the archaic industrial age, allowing it to effectively focus on modernizing and preparing for future, more complex operations.

The Army found Austin had access to academia, industry and mature entrepreneurial incubator hubs “to give our leaders placement and access to talent, ideas, collaboration and willingness to help us build the culture we need,” McCarthy said.

In a lot of ways, Austin is on a different tier from the Triangle, in population and concentration of jobs. Austin is drawing young people from across the country and has garnered a national reputation for being progressive, entertaining, and a place of opportunity. The Triangle has a lot work to do to continue leveraging our universities, RTP, and growing downtowns.

I think the (eventual) commuter rail line will have a big impact. So will the (potential) urbanization of RTP. But those additions won’t give Raleigh and Durham the young energy that is present in Austin and other (competitor) cities.

What will change this? Is this a change the Triangle needs?


I’m not sure if we need such a change… but as someone who probably counts as a part of that “young energy” we don’t have enough of, I would love to see more of it.

Let me list out the things we don’t need to change, first. We have relatively cheap housing compared to other major metros, competitive and stable job offers, commercial success for local businesses of many industries, and traffic/mobility that’s honestly not bad compared to the cities we look up to. Politically, the Triangle as a whole accepts immigrants, and is the most geographically obvious area that voted against Amendment 1. There’s definitely room for improvements – why else do we talk about affordable housing, public spaces, and transit so often on this forum?-- but we could be somewhere MUCH worse.

In short, the Triangle has what people of this generation in the service and STEM fields need to be safe, live comfortably, and work productively. The facts are there.

What do we not have? What are we missing? I think the answer is perception.

RTP has a public image for being good at college sports, medicine, and maybe some IT or real estate stuff. But unless you’re a sports fan or a craft beer/nature geek, there’s not a lot of reasons to desire to be here. There’s a lot of “hidden gem” things that’s really cool if you know about them, like Eno River, all the events in DTR, the occasional food truck festivals etc… but those are things that make it worth it to stay in the area; that’s not what draws in the average casual college grad to relocate to the Triangle. I don’t think we have the cultural capital that the other finalist cities had, and that’s our biggest non-political weakness.

Is this shallow? Is this superficial? Does this seem like an idea that’s super-vain? Of course it does… but then, put yourself in the shoes of the people the Army/Apple/Amazon/??? wants to work with. You got some solid job offers from several places around the country with similar responsibilities and similar living conditions; all the cards on the table look pretty good. You’re likely not from the area, and you’re just left to work with your own intuition, prior knowledge, and cultural exposure at this point… why would you go to some smallish city in the South?


IMO, we have to stop feeding the narrative that Raleigh is on a different/lower tier than cities like Austin. Yes, Austin proper is much larger than Raleigh proper. Yes, its MSA is larger than Raleigh’s. However, these comparisons ignore the multi-centralized nature of the Triangle and the oddity of the dual-MSA designations in the Triangle as a comparison.
At their respective highest level of metro designation, the Triangle is actually larger than Austin. By the latest Urban Area designation, Austin has just over 200,000 more people than the (now) combined Raleigh-Durham UA population of 1.5 million.
Certainly Austin’s core is currently larger than ours, but it’s certainly not out of Raleigh’s league or possibility. Austin’s mostly a sprawling mess like Houston now.
I refuse to buy into diminishing narratives about Raleigh.


We have to stop feeding the narrative that Raleigh is on a different/lower tier than cities like Austin. […] Yes, its MSA is larger than Raleigh’s. However, these comparisons ignore the multi-centralized nature of the Triangle and the oddity of the dual-MSA designations in the Triangle as a comparison.

Two things:

  1. I completely agree in that, if we want to join their ranks, we should do what we can to not say we’re a less “significant” MSA than Austin (or elsewhere). But I think there’s still some truth to the “diminishing narratives” you’re talking about, and suppressing our shortcomings is not a smart or mature solution in the long run. …or, at least, there’s still a lot of ways the Triangle can create narratives to look more attractive.

  2. I noticed the dual-MSA (metro statistical areas) thing popping up here regularly… can we do something to change this so that the Census properly recognizes the Triangle for what it is? The Census is coming up in a year and a half, so I’d imagine now would be a good time to do something about this (plus it may be a good way to solve what you’re talking about, John).

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I can assure you that I have no interest in suppressing our shortcomings, as you put it. I am only suggesting that we stop seeing ourselves as “lesser than” due to others’ interpretations as enabled by wonky and selective data sets.
Raleigh in particular needs to assert itself; its personality is too submissive and demure IMO. It continually lets other cities define it, instead of taking control of its own narrative. How is Raleigh’s culture defined? Ask Durham. How is Raleigh positioned? Ask Charlotte. The modesty of the city is admirable on one level, but it’s frustrating on another.

As for the MSA issue, I am not certain that there is anything that can be done to influence those designations. However, I do seem to remember that Durham took action before the split in 2003 to actually encourage it. If that’s a true story, then one might presume that there is something that the city can do. The designations are reviewed after each Census and the cycle seems to trail the decennial Census by a few years. I think that the next time it comes for review would be before they are updated in 2023.


I do not think Austin is ‘better’ than the Triangle. Raleigh and Durham are growing rapidly and clearly have a draw for the many people moving here. Austin, however is larger, is growing faster, and concentrated around one principal city and one very large university. In some ways Raleigh and Durham are just coming of age in respect to establishing their identities as cities. I don’t see this as a bad thing. I think there is a lot to learn from other metros including Austin.

The separation of the Triangle into two MSAs indicates some distance between markets. The perception of this distance might be lessened by the presence of RTP which as a regional job center lacks density or definition. The relative isolation of the region (Raleigh specifically) might also be lessened by how connected it feels once you are here.

All that said, I think visioning and marketing will be very important for Raleigh. This will be even more clear if the City gets passed over for more large renovations or expansions.

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Yet Raleigh and Durham were one MSA until 2003 when the two cities were much smaller than they are today. :thinking:
One thing that the the splitting of the Triangle into two metros has highlighted is how much Raleigh/Wake drive the lion’s share of the Triangle’s growth.
Since the 2000 Census (the last Census that Raleigh & Durham were one MSA), and up through July 2017, Raleigh’s MSA has grown by 537,891 while Durham’s has grown by 143,570. Essentially, Raleigh’s MSA has grown by nearly the entire current MSA population of Durham/Chapel Hill. Wake alone has grown by 444,357 since then as well.


The census bureau sets the msa boundaries. Their reasoning in splitting the two apart had to do with the percentage of commuters from one county into the other. Wake County had a high percentage of commuters into Durham County (RTP), but Durham did not have a high enough percentage into Wake. That may have changed by now, but we won’t know until after the next census.

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