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Cities In At Least 25 States Vie For HQ Of U.S. Space Command

Space Force got all the attention when President Donald Trump announced it in June 2019, but there’s another federal military agency that was announced last year: U.S. Space Command.

Whereas Space Force is a brand-new agency that will be part of the Air Force (like the Marine Corps is a part of the Navy) and have wide latitude, Space Command is technically a reactivation of an agency that was created in 1985 and will focus on combat operations in space, pulling members of the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps.

An F-16C Fighting Falcon assigned to the 482nd Fighter Wing takes off from Homestead Air Reserve Base.

Currently, a provisional headquarters for SPACECOM is located at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado, but the Air Force in May announced an open bidding process for a new, permanent home. SPACECOM is expected to move within five years.

“Everything from commerce, transportation and tracking national security threats to cellphones, ATMs and everything else in our modern way of life rely upon unfettered access in, from and to space," Defense Secretary Mark Esper said during a speech last month. "China and Russia are weaponizing space through the development of anti-satellite missiles, directed energy weapons and more, all designed to hold the United States and allied space systems at risk. They have turned a once-peaceful arena into a warfighting domain."

All year, cities have been submitting applications to serve as the permanent headquarters, and the Miami-Dade Beacon Council, a public-private economic development organization, last week submitted an application to locate the base in Homestead, Florida, south of Miami.

Homestead is already the site of Homestead Air Reserve Base, which is part of the Air Force and hosts the Special Operations Command South, which oversees special operations in Latin America and the Caribbean. The United States Southern Command, located in Doral, Florida, also focuses on joint operations in those regions.

So far, eight different communities in Florida have been selected and approved by Gov. Ron DeSantis to participate in the bidding process to land SPACECOM's headquarters. More than 25 U.S. states have submitted sites for consideration, according to Air Force Magazine. About 1,500 employees would work out of the headquarters. It would be an operations center, not a rocket launch site. 

Air Force officials are expected to whittle down the applicants and visit locations this November and December and choose a site by January. But an environmental analysis would need to be done, so the decision might not be finalized until January 2023.