Apr 26, 2021

RELLIS’s Focus on Innovating National Security

Steve Fullhart
Bush Combat Development Complex Rendering
Rellis logo

Efforts at The Texas A&M University System’s RELLIS Campus in the Brazos Valley continue to accelerate and multiply, with innovating and modernizing the security and military of the United States among the top focuses.

That was the subject of the April 22, 2021 edition of “Around Texas with Chancellor John Sharp,” the KAMU-produced television show hosted by the A&M System chancellor.

The 2,100-acre RELLIS Campus sits on the former Bryan Air Force Base in the City of Bryan and serves as a home for research, testing, education and workforce development.

Bush Combat Development Complex

Under construction now, the George H.W. Bush Combat Development Complex (BCDC) will be one example of the collaborative efforts between the private sector, researchers and the U.S. military. Hypersonic systems, laser systems, battlefield communications and autonomous vehicles will be tested at the BCDC through a partnership between the A&M System and U.S. Army Futures Command. 

Kathy Banks

For the episode, Sharp interviewed Dr. M. Katherine Banks, Vice Chancellor of Engineering and National Labs and Dean of Texas A&M University’s College of Engineering. Come June 1, Banks assumes the presidency of the University and will also hold the title of Vice Chancellor of National Laboratories and National Security Strategic Initiatives.

“I believe (Army Futures Command) was intrigued by our dedication to service to the nation and our history first,” Banks told Sharp. “They were also intrigued by our vision to really link the work that’s conducted in the laboratories with the end product.”

The chancellor asked Banks if she thought industry would be coming to the Brazos Valley to be closer to the research.

“There’s a great deal of interest in industry now to come to campus. We will have space for startup companies as well as larger companies who want to have a small office here to work with the researchers from the idea all the way to product development. You need to be on campus. You need to be in College Station. You need to live with us to be able, I believe, to really develop the best type of product.”

Ross Guieb

Sharp also spoke with Army COL (Ret.) Ross Guieb, the BCDC’s executive director, for "Around Texas."

“I equate RELLIS to almost be like Las Vegas in the 1930s, where there’s a lot of energy, there’s a lot of building, only the focus is on national defense research," Guieb said. “I will believe it will be the center of excellence in a lot of the areas that we’re focused on, mainly hypersonics and directed energy, and then also 5G.”

Click the video above or watch it here to hear Dr. Banks, COL Guieb and Chancellor Sharp discuss these items and more.