The Air Force has named sites in Florida, Colorado and four other states as finalists to permanently house the U.S. Space Command headquarters—a prize that would mean billions in federal defense spending for the state with the winning bid.
Congress created both the Space Command, which oversees U.S. military operations in space, and the corresponding service branch Space Force last year. In May, the Department of the Air Force asked for local governments to apply to permanently host the command center. Cities and counties in 24 states submitted bids.
The Air Force now has narrowed the candidates to Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo.; Patrick Air Force Base in Brevard County, Fla.; Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, N.M.; Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue, Neb.; Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala., and Joint Base San Antonio in Texas.
The Air Force will “conduct virtual and on-site visits” of each site and choose from among the finalists in “early 2021,” Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said in a Thursday news release.
The May request touched off a fierce competition among states, and some that pushed hard for selection did not make the short list.
Progressive groups have called on President-elect Joe Biden to scrap the Space Force altogether, according to a Politico report this week. Doing so would require an act of Congress.
This report first appeared on the website of the Florida Phoenix, a nonprofit news organization dedicated to coverage of state government and politics from Tallahassee.