The issue: Colorado Springs must compete for U.S. Space Command.
What we think: The region is primed to headquarter the military command.
Tell us what you think: Send us an email at email@example.com.
He didn’t say it, but we all know it’s true.
The crowd at The Broadmoor World Arena — and vicariously, the community as a whole — waited with bated breath last week to hear President Donald Trump declare Colorado Springs the best choice for the U.S. Space Command’s permanent home. He didn’t say it, but we all know it’s true.
USSPACECOM is temporarily based in Colorado Springs, but the city faces competition, primarily from locations in California, Florida and Alabama.
Space Command currently comprises about 400 troops stationed at both Peterson and Schriever Air Force bases. But according to a November report by C4ISRNET, a publication that covers technology for defense and intelligence communities, “Over the next couple of months, U.S. Space Command is set to grow by 25 percent. … Gen. Jay Raymond, the head of the command, expects [personnel] to increase to about 500 staffers at the beginning of next year.”
Several thousand troops could shift to USSPACECOM, wherever it finds a home. The economic impact would include potentially billions of dollars flowing to private contractors throughout the state.
So what better place to lay down roots than Colorado Springs?
The Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC has made a case for the Pikes Peak region. The organization launched a national awareness campaign and its website includes a page titled, “Five reasons why Colorado is the best choice for the permanent location of U.S. Space Command.”
As the chamber points out, Colorado’s altitude isn’t the only thing that brings us closer to space — the state is already home to USSPACECOM’s temporary headquarters as well as three of the U.S. Air Force’s five space wings and the U.S. Air Force Reserve’s only space wing.
The region also has the talent pipeline.
“Colorado ranks first in the nation for our concentration of aerospace employees with more than 27,000 employees at private aerospace companies,” the chamber states, pointing to the U.S. Air Force Academy as the country’s No. 1 undergraduate program in aerospace engineering.
In addition, the region’s five military bases make it one of the nation’s densest when it comes to Department of Defense presence. The culture and infrastructure already exist. With those come tremendous community support for the region’s military. It’s no coincidence so many active duty personnel strategize to land their final assignments in Colorado Springs. The same likely cannot be said for Alabama.
The chamber also points to “a legacy reputation for innovation in the foothills,” adding, “Highly educated entrepreneurs and well-established companies are right at your fingertips in Colorado. The state has more than 500 space-related companies and suppliers with nine of the country’s major space contractors.”
The city is also home to the space industry’s first and only information sharing and analysis center (ISAC), and big names are already on board: Booz Allen Hamilton, Kratos, Lockheed Martin, MITRE and Purdue University among them. And for the future of agile space tech development, look at the Catalyst Space Accelerator. The defense and national security industry accelerator matches startups and their disruptive space technologies with the DoD organizations that need them. The Springs is already a hub for tech companies and entrepreneurs taking on real space problems and reaching faster, more creative solutions.
Finally, on Dec. 20, the president signed a defense bill creating the U.S. Space Force, the nation’s sixth military branch. The Space Force is being built from what used to be Air Force Space Command in Colorado Springs. Space Force is officially headquartered at the Pentagon, but its unofficial home is Colorado Springs thanks to the presence of the 21st, the 50th and the 310th Space wings.
It’s obvious the future of national defense should propagate from the base of the Rocky Mountains. Just as Pikes Peak points to the heavens, as though directing us to the next conquerable frontier, our elected officials should be directing the Pentagon to establish USSPACECOM in the shadow of America’s Mountain.
The president didn’t say it, but we all know it’s true — U.S. Space Command belongs in Colorado Springs.