Space Force was agreed upon by Republicans and Democrats. However, it was more part of a deal so that the Democrats could get their way in a few other issues – including allowing federal workers 12 weeks of paid time off to handle family emergencies, as well as the birth or adoption of a child.
Now that Space Command is moving forward, it’s time to explore various locations. After all, U.S. Space Command will need to have a home for its headquarters.
VP Mike Pence and Secretary of the Air Force, Barbara Barrett, has been exploring some of the different military installations around the country.
Since Space Command will be a branch that sits under the Air Force, it only makes sense to explore a few of the different Air Force bases. The ones that are in the running include Patrick AFB in Florida, Peterson AFB in Colorado, Offutt AFB in Nebraska, and Kirtland AFB in New Mexico.
The others looking to be considered include Port San Antonio in Texas and Redstone Army Airfield in Alabama.
All of the locations on the list were as a result of self-nominated communities. Essentially, any military installation could have raised their hand to say that they wanted to be evaluated to host the headquarters.
The Department of the Air Force has evaluated the locations and is in the process of conducting virtual and on-site visits. The six listed above are the ones that have made the final cut.
What will it take to become the home of the Space Command Headquarters? They’re looking for such things as infrastructure capacity, mission, costs, and community support.
It’s been highly competitive. Many lawmakers want to see one of the military bases in their state be chosen. After a leak of potential locations leaked to the press in 2018, identifying four bases in Colorado as well as a base in both Alabama and California, lawmakers in Florida raised their hands. They wanted to argue that bases in Florida be considered.
Lt. Gen. David Thompson, the Space Force Vice Commander, identified that he would be restarting the competition. This prompted the release of new criteria – and it’s one of the reasons why Patrick AFB in Florida is now being considered.
The new headquarters will look to host around 1400 military and civilian personnel. The command will be a draw to a number of government contractors and major players in the space industry. This could benefit the economy in whichever region is chosen.
With NASA being based in Houston, Texas, and Port Canaveral, Florida, it would seem natural for Space Command to be located in either of these states. However, it appears that the Department of the Air Force wants to separate themselves from NASA. So, it may not go to a state that currently has anything to do with space.
The Space Command has its temporary headquarters at Peterson in Colorado Springs. They’ll be looking to choose their permanent home in early 2021.
That is… as long as the Democrats decide not to ax the program entirely. They’re bitter that they had to “give” something to Trump in order to get what they wanted about family leave. With Biden taking office and the House having the majority, it’s very possible that they’ll try to pull the funding of Space Command.
The show must go on, though. The Space Command will be one of the smaller military services – and much of this has to do with funding. It’s a critical component of the Air Force, though, as we look to take on more within space and cyberspace.
We can only hope that Biden looks to maintain the promises that were made during the Trump administration. The money has already been promised and with locations being actively scouted, it’s only a matter of time before the Space Command begins proving to everyone why it’s here and what it can do.