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Space Coast bases named ‘preferred’ location for Space Force training HQ

The emblem for the U.S. Space Force Space Training and Readiness Command (STARCOM) (Space Force)

The Space Coast lost out on getting the Department of Defense’s U.S. Space Command headquarters last year, but its two military installations have been named the preferred location for a smaller entity, the Space Force’s training headquarters known as STARCOM, according to an announcement from U.S. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall.

Patrick Space Force Base and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, both former Air Force facilities, were named the presumptive home for STARCOM, which stands for Space Training and Readiness Command. It’s one of three Space Force field command units, similar to an Air Force air command.

STARCOM is “responsible for the deliberate development, education and training of space professionals in addition to the development of space warfighting doctrine, tactics, techniques and procedures, and the operational test and evaluation of Space Force systems,” according to an Air Force press release.

Under each field command are several smaller groups known as deltas, similar to Air Force wings. One of STARCOM’s five deltas — Space Delta 10: Doctrine and Wargaming — is also tapped to make its way to Brevard County. Patrick SFB was named the “sole candidate location being considered to host this mission because of its proximity to a Department of Defense modeling and simulation capability with resident space.”

SD 10’s job will be to develop Space Force doctrine and tactics, conduct its Lessons Learned Program, and run war games.

Both Patrick and Canaveral were among the first to be converted to the Space Force. They are already home to Space Launch Delta 45, which is in direct support of all of the launches from both Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center. SLD 45, though, falls under a different field command for the Space Force called Space Systems Command.

The final decision on STARCOM and SD 10’s new home won’t be made until the Air Force conducts an environmental impact analysis expected to be complete before the end of the year.

Space Force’s overall headquarters is based in Washington at the Pentagon along with other HQs of the nation’s armed forces.

In a 2021 interview with Air & Space Forces Magazine, after being named STARCOM’s commander, now Maj Gen Shawn N. Bratton said he expected the headquarters to grow to about 250 personnel overseeing about 1,500 under all of its deltas.

Essentially becoming boot camp for the Space Force, Bratton told the magazine he envisioned a future with “on-orbit training where we’re live-flying satellites in a training environment, where we can test and train things that we haven’t done before, I think that would be a huge step forward for us.”

Sen. Marco Rubio applauded the decision after spearheading a bipartisan effort last year among the state’s congressional delegation stumping for bringing STARCOM to Florida.

“Patrick SFB and Cape Canaveral SFS hold an important place in America’s storied history in space,” Rubio said in an emailed statement. “This is a major victory for Florida, and I am confident that STARCOM will be a great success in my home state.”


© 2023 Orlando Sentinel

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