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Vandenberg Air Force Base officially applies to be US Space Command headquarters

Falcon 9 Vertical At Vandenberg Air Force Base. (SpaceX/Released)
September 06, 2020

Vandenberg Air Force Base is officially in the running to be the new home to U.S. Space Command.

According to a news release, military officials submitted their full application to the Air Force office that evaluates candidates on Wednesday, officially making the case for why the Central Coast base should be home to U.S. Space Command. This came after a nomination period earlier this year.

U.S. Space Command is the unified combatant command of the U.S. Department of Defense in charge of space warfare.

The command is provisionally headquartered at Colorado Springs, but Air Force officials have been searching for the better part of a year to determine its new home. The new headquarters, wherever it is, would be home to a four-star general, international liaisons and 1,500 military personnel, according to the release.

The command headquarters is not for the U.S. Space Force, which will be based out of the Pentagon as all other U.S. military branches are. As of July, the Air Force said it had received nominations from 26 states to house the new headquarters.

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According to the release, the application process is similar to that of communities vying for an Amazon corporate headquarters.

In the application, officials had to provide information on the base’s ability to house the headquarters, as well as detailed data on the region’s workforce, infrastructure and space-related entities, according to the release.

“Pulling together this significant effort served to prove out what we already knew: that the Central Coast, with a burgeoning aerospace ecosystem, educated workforce and world-class higher education, offers all the ingredients to support the U.S. Space Command’s mission and people,” REACH vice president of strategy Andrew Hackleman said in the release.

As the official point of contact on this effort, the economic development group, REACH, convened a team that included representatives from local government, chambers of commerce, education and the military, according to the release.

Having Space Command headquarters at Vandenberg Air Force Base would be a huge coup for California, state leaders say.

In a letter to the secretary of the Air Force in August, Rep. Salud Carbajal, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Sen. Kamala Harris all endorsed selecting Vandenberg as the permanent location for U.S. Space Command.

“Our Central Coast community is eager to welcome the U.S. Space Command to Vandenberg Air Force Base,” Carbajal said in a statement. “Vandenberg has garnered support for the U.S. Space Command nomination from a variety of local and state stakeholders, boasts an unparalleled talent pool, and is a prime location to host the U.S. Space Command. Nowhere is better suited for U.S. Space Command than Vandenberg Air Force Base.”

The Air Force expects to make a decision on the headquarters in 2021. Once a site is selected, it would take roughly six hears to build the headquarters.

If Vandenberg were chosen, the headquarters would be located on a 27-acre parcel on base, close to a facility built to support the Combined Space Operations Center already located at the base, according to the release. CSpOC, where U.S. and allied personnel track objects and activities in space, is part of the Vandenberg-based Combined Force Space Component Command, one of two field organizations that support the Space Command.

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© 2020 The Tribune