Members of Florida’s congressional delegation have sent a letter to DOD leaders making their case for locating headquarters of U.S. Space Command (USSPACECOM) in their state.  Reestablished last year by President Trump, the command temporarily is at Peterson AFB in Colorado Springs, CO, but interest is high from states that want to be its permanent home.  Florida was recently picked as one of six possible choices.

USSPACECOM was recreated on August 29, 2019 after a 17-year hiatus.  Originally stood up in 1985, it was abolished in 2002 after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks led to a reorganization of the U.S. unified combatant commands that are in charge of warfighting.  Last year, along with creating a U.S. Space Force (USSF) as a sixth military service, the decision was made to bring USSPACECOM back to life, too, raising the number of unified commands from 10 to 11.

The military services, including USSF, “organize, train and equip” personnel who then are ready to be called upon to support the 11 unified combatant commands as needed.

Having a unified combatant command in your state is highly coveted not only as a matter of prestige, but jobs.

In May 2019, the Air Force announced six possible locations for USSPACECOM HQ, four in Colorado (Buckley, Peterson and Schriever Air Force Bases and Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station) and one each in California (Vandenberg AFB) and Alabama (Redstone Arsenal).

Several states including Florida protested that they should be considered, too, and the competition was reopened in May 2020.

On November 19, the Air Force announced a new list of six more geographically diverse candidates from the 24 states that applied:

  • Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico
  • Offutt AFB, Nebraska
  • Patrick AFB, Florida
  • Peterson AFB, Colorado
  • Port San Antonio, Texas, and
  • Redstone Army Airfield, Alabama

A final decision is expected in early 2021, but the headquarters would not actually move to its permanent location until 2026.

Now, 21 members of Florida’s House delegation have written to Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller and Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett arguing in favor of Patrick Air Force Base, which operates Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, which in turn is adjacent to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

Patrick Air Force Base and its associated Cape Canaveral Air Force Station has earned a global reputation as the world’s premier gateway to space for government and commercial customers. It is also home to the 45th Space Wing, which delivers assured access to space for warfighters. In addition to its renowned launch reputation, the quantity and quality of assets and expertise the community that USSPACECOM offers extend well beyond battlefield access to rocket and spacecraft manufacturing, payload and electronics, and ground support.

Florida is already home to three of the 11 unified combatant commands: U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill AFB near Tampa, and U.S. Southern Command in Doral (near Miami).

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