Florida senators lead bipartisan push to bring Space Force training HQ to Space Coast
Orlando Sentinel April 27, 2022
(Tribune News Service) — U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott are on board to bring the Space Force’s training headquarters to the Space Coast. So is a bipartisan group that includes U.S. Reps. Bill Posey, Charlie Crist, Stephanie Murphy, Darren Soto, Matt Gaetz and Debbie Wasserman Schultz among others.
The state’s two senators and 23 of its 27 members of the U.S. House of Representatives signed onto a letter to the Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall this week asking for STARCOM, the Space Training and Readiness Command, which is one of three Space Force field command units, to be based at Patrick Space Force Base and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Brevard County.
The Air Force announced earlier this month that Patrick SFB was one of six candidates being considered for its headquarters, which has been located temporarily at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado since the Space Force’s inception in 2021 under President Donald Trump. The other headquarters candidates include two locations in California: Los Angeles AFB and Vandenburg SFB, and three locations in Colorado: Buckley SFB, Schriever SFB and Peterson SFB.
Site surveys for the six candidates are set to begin in late April or early May, assessing factors related to mission, infrastructure capacity, community support, environmental considerations and cost.
“ Florida is the most military friendly state in the Union,” reads the letter. “Our state proudly hosts three combatant commands, 21 installations, and an effective national guard. Additionally, Florida has a robust defense industry spread throughout the state and is also home to top tier universities with cutting edge research programs with extensive history of working with the Air Force and Department of Defense ( DoD). Florida also has the third highest veteran population.”
The two former Air Force installations were among the first to be converted to the Space Force, and are already home to Space Launch Delta 45, which is in direct support of all of the launches from both Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center.
“Patrick SFB and Cape Canaveral SFS hold a unique place in America’s history of space flight and exploration,” the letter reads. “Every crewed mission to space in our nation’s history has launched from Brevard County, Florida. From Apollo, to the Space Shuttle, and the future Artemis missions, Florida has served as our nation’s gateway to the stars. NASA and DoD formed significant bonds with the local community, private industry, and academic institutions for more than half a century.”
Patrick was in the running to host the U.S. Space Command headquarters, which is a separate entity from the Space Force, but lost out to Redstone Arsenal, Alabama in a decision last year. Space Force’s overall headquarters is based in Washington at the Pentagon along with other HQs of the nation’s armed forces. Its three field commands are based elsewhere. Space Operations Command is at Peterson SFB in Colorado while Space Systems Command is at Los Angeles AFB.
STARCOM is the lone field command without a permanent home.
Under each command are smaller organizational units called Space Launch Deltas. Patrick’s SLD 45 falls under Space Systems Command.
STARCOM has five Deltas under its auspices, including Space Launch Delta 10 - Doctrine and Wargaming, which the Air Force said was already headed to Patrick SFB, labeling the Brevard base as the “sole candidate location being considered to host this mission because of its proximity to a Department of Defense modeling and simulation capability with resident space.”
SLD 10 will develop Space Force doctrine and tactics, conduct its Lessons Learned Program, and run wargames to “to posture USSF forces and designated joint and allied partners.”
STARCOM’s other subgroups include Delta I - Training, already based at Vandenberg SFB, which focuses on initial skills training and specialized warfighter training; Delta 11 - Range and Aggressor, which replicates combat in live, virtual and potentially some sort of orbital range in the future; Delta 12 - Test and Evaluation; and Delta 13 - Education.
The headquarters, though, is the bigger fish that could bring more jobs to the Space Coast.
Other members of Congress that signed the letter include Reps. Michael Waltz, Carlos A. Gimenez, Gus M. Bilirakis, Mario Diaz-Balart María Elvira Salazar, Darren Soto, Brian Mast, Scott Franklin, Kathy Castor, W. Gregory Steube, Kat Cammack, Byron Donalds, John H. Rutherford, Vern Buchanan, Dr. Neal P. Dunn, Daniel Webster, Frederica S. Wilson and Ted Deutch.
Orlando’s Rep. Val Demings, who is running against Rubio in November, as well as Lois Frankel, Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick and Al Lawson, four of the state’s 11 Democrats, were the only ones not included in the letter.
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