Bennet Makes Strong Case for Permanently Basing U.S. Space Command in Colorado Springs Following Virtual Community Visit

Colorado News

DENVER, Colo. –– Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement after last week’s virtual community visit to Colorado Springs, another step in the U.S. Air Force’s process for determining the permanent headquarters of U.S. Space Command. 

“With our infrastructure, innovation, workforce, and commitment to the space mission, there is no better permanent home for U.S. Space Command than Peterson Air Force Base,” said Bennet. “Colorado Springs has a workforce prepared to meet the demands of this mission and a community that already plays a critical role in the national security space mission. Military personnel, civilians, and veterans want to live in Colorado Springs because they know we are committed to supporting them. Leaders across the state have joined together in this effort, demonstrating Colorado’s full commitment to the space mission.” 

Following the selection of the six finalist communities in Colorado, New Mexico, Alabama, Texas, Florida, and Nebraska, the Air Force announced that they would be conducting an in-person visit to each of the sites and a virtual visit with the community. Governor Jared Polis, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, and other community leaders presented the case for why Colorado Springs is the best and only home for U.S. Space Command. The Air Force has said the final basing decision will be announced by January 2021. Peterson Air Force Base (AFB) is the current provisional headquarters of U.S. Space Command and will be until 2026.

Background

In 2019, Bennet and U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) led the Colorado Delegation in writing to then-Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan and writing to then-Acting Secretary of the Air Force Matthew Donovan and then-Commander of U.S. Space Command General Jay Raymond to emphasize what Colorado offers as a candidate to be the permanent home of U.S. Space Command. Bennet and Gardner also published an op-ed in the Colorado Springs Gazette advocating for the basing decision. Following the White House’s official announcement of the creation of U.S. Space Command in August 2019, the entire Colorado Congressional Delegation reiterated their call for the headquarters to be reestablished in Colorado. In the original basing decision process, of the six possible locations named by the Air Force, four were in Colorado: Peterson AFB, Schriever AFB, Buckley AFB, and Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station. In the fall of 2019, the Air Force named Peterson AFB the temporary home to U.S. Space Command. 

In December 2019, Bennet met with Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett and spoke with the Commander of U.S. Space Command General John W. Raymond to discuss the importance of a focus on national security space and to double down on his support for basing Space Command in Colorado.

In May 2020, the Air Force announced a new basing decision process that evaluates self-nominating communities, like Aurora and Colorado Springs, on their ties to the military space mission, existing infrastructure capacity, community support, and cost to the Air Force. The Air Force also announced Peterson AFB in Colorado Springs would remain the provisional location of the command until 2026. Later in May, Bennet and Gardner wrote a letter to Polis calling for him to support military spouse licensure reciprocity in the state, which Polis then signed into law in July 2020. Spouse licensure reciprocity is a component of the Air Force’s evaluation of each nominating state’s support for military families. Following passage of Colorado House Bill 20-1326, the entire Colorado Congressional Delegation, Polis, and Lieutenant Governor Dianne Primavera wrote to then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Barrett to highlight the new Colorado law and further demonstrate that Colorado is the best state to serve as the permanent home of the U.S. Space Command.   

In June 2020, Bennet welcomed Polis’ endorsement of the self-nomination of both the Aurora and Colorado Springs communities to compete to be the permanent home for U.S. Space Command. At the end of August 2020, the Aurora and Colorado Springs communities submitted their questionnaire responses to the Department of the Air Force completing the next step in the basing process. 

In August 2020, Bennet visited Peterson AFB and Schriever AFB for an update on the U.S. Space Command mission and stand up. He also met with General Dickinson, who assumed command in August, and learned about advancements at the National Space Defense Center. 

In October 2020, Bennet visited Ball Aerospace in Boulder, Colorado, and Maxar Technologies in Westminster, Colorado, two Colorado-based companies leading the way on civilian, military, and intelligence space technology innovation, and contributing to Colorado’s second to none space-aligned workforce. In October, Bennet also visited the National Reconnaissance Office’s Aerospace Data Facility Colorado (ADF-C) at Buckley AFB. The team at the facility provided an update on the critical intelligence missions that call Colorado home.

In November 2020, Colorado Springs was announced as a finalist for the U.S. Space Command headquarters.  Bennet will continue to work with Polis, the entire Colorado Delegation, the Colorado Springs community, and the many other Colorado communities who are critical to the national security space mission to demonstrate Colorado’s unique position as the hub of the nation’s military and intelligence space missions, robust aerospace and defense industry ecosystem, strong STEM education pipelines, and commitment to supporting veterans and military families.

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