Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson has officially selected north Alabama’s Redstone Arsenal as one of six finalist locations to host the headquarters for United States Space Command (USSPACECOM).
The soon-to-be established Space Command was approved by Congress in 2018, and President Donald Trump in December directed its elevation as the 11th functional Unified Combatant Command.
Unlike the proposed Space Force (which would be its own military branch), Space Command’s formation does not need Congressional approval. Rather, the Senate just needs to approve the presidential appointment of General John W. Raymond to serve as its commander, and both chambers will need to green light its elevation and funding for the headquarters.
The six Space Command headquarters candidate locations are as follows:
Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado
Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, Colorado
Peterson AFB, Colorado
Redstone Arsenal, Alabama (Huntsville)
Schriever AFB, Colorado
Vandenberg AFB, California
The next step in the selection process will be to complete site surveys and analysis of each candidate location for its ability to meet mission requirements, capacity, environmental impact and cost criteria.
The Air Force expects to approve the preferred location this summer, which will be followed by an environmental analysis.
In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) said, “As the conversation continues about how to best organize and manage our national security space assets, it is clear that Redstone Arsenal has a vital and growing role to play, along with countless space industry partners doing remarkable work in North Alabama.”
“The Air Force has confirmed that Alabama’s Redstone Arsenal is on the short list for U.S. Space Force Command,” Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) said in a Facebook post. “I am thrilled by this news and have urged key decision makers to locate the Space Command in Huntsville to leverage the existing aerospace talent and facilities of our high-tech community.”
“With all the Space Force command related work already being done in the Tennessee Valley, the Rocket City and Space Command make a perfect match. I look forward to a final decision on the location of Space Command HQ,” Brooks added.
Redstone Arsenal being named to the short list to be headquarters for the U.S. Space Force is great for North Alabama but more importantly for America and our national security. Redstone would be an excellent choice.
— Rep. Robert Aderholt (@Robert_Aderholt) May 15, 2019
In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01) advised, “Huntsville is a national leader in space and military programs, so Redstone is a natural choice for consideration of the U.S. Space Command headquarters.”
“I will continue to work with Huntsville and my colleagues in the Alabama delegation to tout Redstone as the Air Force continues its evaluation,” Byrne concluded. “As new industries and employers continue to locate and expand in the region, the future remains exceptionally bright for the Tennessee Valley.”
If Space Force does become a reality, Space Command would be assigned the preponderance of its forces.
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn