Wednesday, Congressman Bradley Byrne, R-Montrose, announced his full support for making Huntsville the permanent headquarters of the revived Space Command at the Pentagon.
Byrne sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper expressing his strong support for the U.S. Space Command to be permanently headquartered in Huntsville, Alabama.
“The space legacy and unmatched workforce of the Rocket City make it an ideal choice for the U.S. Space Command headquarters,” Byrne said in a statement. “Huntsville’s contributions to America’s space program and national security have expanded over the years, making Huntsville the premier hub of America’s space technology. I have no doubt Huntsville is perfectly situated to rise to the occasion as Space Command headquarters.”
Last week President Donald Trump made Space Command the nation’s 11th geographic combatant command, a status last held in 2002.
“As Congress continues consideration of the Space Force in the NDAA conference committee, I am thrilled President Trump is taking decisive action to align our current space missions to make them a more effective war fighting force,” said Congressman Mike Rogers, R-Saks, to the Alabama Political Reporter.
Air Force Lt. General John “Jay” Raymond has been given command of the new Space Command/
“Space was created to defend U.S. space-enabled capabilities in this new warfighting domain, Gen. Raymond said, who assumed command of U.S. Space Command on Thursday. “Although space is a warfighting domain, our goal is actually to deter a conflict from extending into space; the best way I know how to do that is to be prepared to fight and win if deterrence were to fail. The scope, scale and complexity of the threat to our space capabilities is real, and it’s concerning. We no longer have the luxury of operating in a peaceful and benign domain.”
Many ins Congress want to make Space Command it’s own separate military branch with a seat on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called Space Force.
The goal is to build “a fighting force capable of conducting defensive and offensive operations against potential adversaries seeking to deny America’s access to space,” Raymond said. “Primarily, the countries that have the more significant threats are China and Russia. Our adversaries have had a front row seat to our many successes of integrating space, and they don’t like what they see because it provides us with such great advantage. And they are developing capabilities to negate our access to space.”
Congressman Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville, told WAFF Channel 48 TV news that no decision has been made on where the new Space Command is going to be headquartered. For the moment, it looks likes Space Command is temporarily headquartered in Colorado where the Air Force has based its existing Air Force Space Command for years, but this is a more expansive command that may in the future also include the Missile Defense Agency and the U.S. Army’s Space and Missile Command, which is based at Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal.
Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, told a constituent town hall in Powell that while he hopes that Space Command is headquartered in Huntsville it “looks like Colorado has a leg up” on being the headquarters of the Pentagon’s newest geographical command.
Brooks expressed hope that even if Space Command or Space Force are not headquartered in Huntsville that the city could still get the Space Development Office, which will be tasked with purchasing all the materials and equipment for Space Command and other space assets.
Original reporting by Military.com and WAFF Channel 48 TV News contributed to this report.