The incoming commander of US Space Command, Air Force Gen. Jay Raymond, speaks at the White House ceremony on the establishment of the US Space Command, Washington, D.C., on Aug. 29, 2019. Defense Department photo by Lisa Ferdinando.
Colorado’s congressional delegation again lobbied for their state to be the permanent home of US Space Command, which is setting up shop at Peterson AFB, Colo., until a final headquarters is chosen.
“Colorado provides the existing command structure, infrastructure, and communications platforms necessary to host additional national security space initiatives and ensure coordination of efforts,” the bipartisan group wrote to Acting Air Force Secretary Matt Donovan and SPACECOM boss Gen. Jay Raymond on Aug. 29. “Our state ranks first in the nation in its concentration of aerospace jobs and has the nation’s largest aerospace economy on a per capita basis.”
The state is home to Air Force Space Command as well as Buckley, Schriever, and Peterson Air Force Bases, the National Space Defense Center, US Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command, and the US Air Force Academy. Major defense contractors like Lockheed Martin have facilities a short drive from Colorado Springs, a key military space hub that hosts a massive conference focused on the cosmos each year, the lawmakers wrote.
“Throughout the basing process, the Colorado community has demonstrated continued support for US Space Command, further augmenting the workforce talent, innovation in industry, institutions of higher education, national labs, and unparalleled quality of life Colorado already provides,” lawmakers wrote.
Air Force Magazine recently reported Donovan is still reviewing six possible locations in California, Colorado, and Alabama that could host SPACECOM headquarters. An announcement is due in the next few months.
At first, SPACECOM has 287 employees assigned to its headquarters and that staff, and will gain more workers over time. The command will also oversee the Combined Space Operations Center at Vandenberg AFB, Calif.; the NSDC at Schriever; the Missile Warning Center in Cheyenne Mountain AFS, Colo.; the Joint Overhead Persistent Infrared Planning Center at Buckley; and the Joint Navigation Warfare Center at Kirtland AFB, N.M.
In “higher states of conflict,” the National Reconnaissance Office has agreed to answer to the SPACECOM commander, Raymond recently told reporters. He did not elaborate on what circumstances would trigger that chain of command.
“The United States Space Command of today shares the same name as the original command. However, it is designed for a different strategic environment,” Raymond told reporters before an Aug. 29 White House ceremony to formally establish the command. A previous iteration of SPACECOM existed from 1985 to 2002, when US Strategic Command assumed its responsibilities.
“Today’s US Space Command has a sharper mission focus on protecting and defending our critical space assets, a stronger unified structure with our intelligence partners, a strengthened relationship with our allies, and a closer connection to our joint warfighting partners and other combatant commands,” he said.