The official headquarters of U.S. Space Command has yet to be determined by the Air Force, even as it was officially stood up this week.
New U.S. Space Command Commander – and current Air Force Space Command Commander – Gen. John Raymond told reporters Aug. 29 that that decision will be made by the Air Force secretary, but he did not provide any timeline.
As of Aug. 29, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado – which houses Air Force Space Command – became the provisional headquarters to meet immediate command mission needs, said Rob Leese, a service press officer in a Thursday email.
“The U.S. Air Force has not made a basing decision on the final location of U.S. Space Command Headquarters,” he said.
Back in May, the service identified six possible locations for the new headquarters – including four Air Force bases in Colorado, as well as Vandenberg AFB, California, and the Army’s Redstone Arsenal, Alabama – and lawmakers have engaged in frequent lobbying for the Air Force to select a location in their state, including states that were not on the short list, such as Florida or Louisiana.
The revival of U.S. Space Command – which did not require the approval of Congress – has been largely supported by lawmakers and industry representatives.
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), called it “an important step to support the space warfighting domain” in a Thursday statement.
The command “ensures our strategic competitors, Russia and China, realize we are serious about implementing our National Defense Strategy,” he added.
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)’s Executive Director Daniel L. Dumbacher issued a statement Thursday applauding the command’s establishment.
“Space is essential to each and every one of us. Not only is it critical to U.S. military operations, but it is vital for civilian and commercial applications as well,” Dumbacher said. “With the reality that space is a contested environment, we welcome the U.S. government’s establishment of U.S. Space Command (USSPACECOM) as the entity responsible for ensuring free and open access to space.”
“The institute …looks forward to working with Gen. John Raymond and the command leadership to accomplish its missions of missile warning, satellite operations, space control and space support,” he added.
The next step is establishing the new U.S. Space Force, Inhofe noted in his statement. The Space Force has been proposed as a new branch of the armed forces sitting under the Air Force, similar to the Marine Corps’ place within the Department of the Navy. Congress is expected to vote on the establishment of a Space Force as part of the final fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).