The US Army’s chief of staff wants his modernization initiative to cut through federal bureaucracy and more quickly get new technology into the hands of soldiers.
But state officials see something else: an economic opportunity.
Army leaders unveiled the new effort last month, with a memo calling for disruption, “the messy, chaotic work that is the hallmark of truly innovative organizations.”
The news was noticed by the Baker administration, where John Beatty acts as the point person for efforts to protect and expand the state’s military bases -- led by the Natick Soldier Systems Center and Hanscom Air Force Base -- and the nearly 60,000 jobs they support.
Governor Charlie Baker and the rest of the state’s military base task force wrote to Chief of Staff Mark Milley last week, making the case that the Army should locate its future “Modernization Command” in Massachusetts. The letter doesn’t offer specifics about where it should go. Instead, it offers a quick rundown of the reasons state officials believe Massachusetts is, as the letter says, “the heart of the nation’s innovation economy.”
A new Army station would likely bring with it more jobs and federal funding. How much? It’s too soon to know. There hasn’t been much by way of details from the Army brass, and the task force studying the issue doesn’t report back until early next year.
But it makes sense for Baker, Beatty and the rest to get in at the ground floor. This won’t be Amazon’s HQ2, or General Electric, for that matter. But success builds on success. Every new arrival becomes one more prize to tout in the next recruitment letter.