Army Futures Command (AFC) has a new software factory in the works focused on training tech talent in Austin, TX. This development will help the Army modernize and keep up with near-peer competitors, explained Kate Kelley, Chief Human Capital Officer at AFC.
STEM-focused fields and data analytics are some of the areas where talent is most needed, Kelley told “Government Matters.” That could change over time, though, with the continuous development of newer technologies.
AFC’s efforts to challenge current thinking and processes related to talent management have led to the discovery of untapped talent within the Army itself. “There were some myths, I would say, within the Army, centered on the belief that we needed to find this talent outside the Army,” said Kelley.
With software developers, for example, Kelley said they found a lot of people in the Army who understand coding. “They’ve been doing it on the side in some cases, they’ve been trained on it prior but decided to go into the military for a variety of other personal and patriotic reasons,” Kelley explained.
Kelley said the challenge now is to take that talent out of the career field it is currently in, reskill it and “inject it back into the Army.”
Another challenge facing AFC is competition from the private sector in hiring for tech jobs, especially in Austin. Kelley said the Army has the advantage of appealing to those who are interested in serving their country.
Kelley said AFC has been reaching out to universities and high school communities to try to educate people about the many opportunities within the military and the ability to serve in a way “that is not your traditional soldier concept that you might visualize.”
From a training perspective, the Austin location is also allowing AFC to benefit from the knowledge of the many tech professionals already there. “We can walk right outside our door and find a variety of entities who are available and talented and interested in helping us upscale our own workforce, so it’s been a real exciting place to be,” Kelley said.