The U.S. Air Force announced Wednesday it expects three new Space Force units to be permanently based in Colorado Springs—the current and temporary home of U.S. Space Command.
The newly activated Space Delta 15—a command-and-control organization within Space Operations Command—along with the recently formed 75th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) Squadron are expected to have a permanent home at Schriever Space Force Base (SFB), Colorado. The 74th ISR Squadron, activated in November, will be based 10 miles away at Peterson SFB, the USAF said.
Colorado Springs serves as the temporary home for Space Command’s headquarters; however, questions still linger on whether it will remain so going forward. While the previous administration selected Huntsville, Alabama, as the future permanent headquarters, concerns about operational disruptions as a result of the move and the state’s restrictive reproductive health laws have reportedly factored into delays.
Colorado lawmakers have since been advocating for their state’s suitability as the location for permanent headquarters, meaning thousands of jobs and government funding.
“As President (Joe) Biden and his administration near a final basing decision for Space Command, we urge them to restore the integrity of this process and make a decision in the interest of our national security—to keep Space Command in Colorado Springs,” Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) said.
Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) also pressed for the command noting, “Colorado Springs continues to prove itself as the premier location for our nation’s space defense operations.” In a press release, Lamborn touted Colorado Springs as home to more than 250 space, aerospace, and defense companies, including Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman among others.
Meanwhile, lawmakers in Alabama recently introduced a draft bill blocking funding from the command until the Air Force names a permanent location for its headquarters.
Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) sent a letter to the secretary of defense and secretary of the Air Force requesting all documents related to the selection of SPACECOM be preserved.
“Air Force officials have continued to delay finalizing the move of SPACECOM headquarters to Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama, in response to apparent politically motivated interference by political appointees in the Biden administration,” Rogers wrote.
Colorado Springs is the Air Force’s preferred location as keeping the command would avoid disruptions and costly moving expenses for the branch. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall has also disclosed that the command has continued to expand facilities in Colorado, and officials have said Space Command is on track to be fully operational by the end of summer—much sooner than originally anticipated.
Additionally, Colorado Springs is home to the Air Force Academy, which now includes a space curriculum and graduates Space Force guardians with Air Force cadets. According to the Academy, 115 cadets were commissioned into the Space Force in 2021 and 94 in 2022.
The Air Force announcement also coincides with Biden’s visit to the Academy on Thursday where he spoke at the graduates’ commencement ceremony.
While the Space Force is the smallest of all military branches, it was established on the “recognition that space was a national security imperative.” The branch’s budget has continued to rise since its establishment in 2019.
The Air Force said it will make a final decision about the permanency of the three Space Force units in Colorado Springs after conducting environmental impact assessments at the bases, which are expected to be completed by the end of the year.