Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, is one of six candidate locations the Department of the Air Force selected for U.S. Space Command headquarters. Credit: Air Force

WASHINGTON — The Department of the Air Force announced Nov. 19 it has selected six military bases as candidate locations for U.S. Space Command headquarters.

The six finalists are Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado; Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico; Patrick Air Force Base, Florida; Redstone Army Airfield, Alabama; Joint Base San Antonio, Texas; and Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska

The announcement follows an Air Force decision on May 15 to launch an open bidding process to select the permanent location of U.S. Space Command headquarters. 

The Air Force said it expects to select a location in early 2021 but it will take up to six years to build new facilities. During that time U.S. Space Command will remain at its provisional headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado.

U.S. Space Command was established in August 2019 as the military’s 11th unified combatant command. The future headquarters will have approximately 1,400 military and civilian personnel working there.

While the new list represents bases in six states, a previous effort in 2019 only included installations from three states: Alabama, California and Colorado. The 2019 list had Alabama’s Redstone Arsenal, California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base and Colorado’s Peterson Air Force Base, Buckley Air Force Base, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, and Schriever Air Force Base.

Following media leaks of the 2019 list, politicians from Florida, Texas and other states claimed the process was unfair and demanded that their states be considered. 

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...