Space Command HQ? Dayton urged to make its case

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The U.S. Space Command needs a home, and the Air Force is considering its options.

Some Dayton leaders want their city to be prominent among those options.

 

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is already slated to play a significant role in the new Space Force, which is a new military branch.

Five Wright-Patterson units or missions are slated to be transferred to Space Force, the branch’s public affairs arm said in early April.

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Eligible communities are being asked to nominate themselves as a possible headquarters for the Space Command, a combatant command.

“The secretary of defense has confirmed that the work being done at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is critically important to our national defense strategy in the space domain,” U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, said Friday.

Turner said he has urged Gov. Mike DeWine and the Dayton Development Coalition to “assemble our team to prepare our community’s submission in the Space Command competition.”

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Asking communities to self-nominate “expands the number of locations eligible for consideration to host the permanent U.S. Space Command headquarters, and provides a comprehensive and transparent analysis before selecting a final location,” the Air Force said Friday.

The U.S. Space Command will have about 1400 military and civilian employees working in the headquarters once established.

There’s a distinction between Space Force and Space Command. The U.S. Space Force headquarters will be located in the Pentagon just like the other services, Space Force said.

The U.S. military’s newest combatant command, U.S. Space Command, was established last summer to control military space operations.

The Pentagon is looking for communities that are within 25 miles of a military base, within one of the top 150 most populous “metropolitan statistical areas,” and score a minimum 50 out of 100 points on the American Association of Retired Persons’ Livability Index, among other criteria.

“I have been in constant contact with the Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett and Chief of Space Operations Gen. John Raymond and will continue to strongly advocate for our community’s importance to the space mission,” Turner said.

Gen. Raymond is the top general in Space Force.

“The Dayton region’s long-standing leadership role in aerospace innovation, our experienced defense workforce, our strong space-related supply chain and industrial base, and our unmatched support of our military community make the Dayton region the ideal choice for hosting the headquarters of the U.S. Space Command,” said Jeff Hoagland, chief executive and president of Dayton Development Coalition.

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the Springfield Air National Guard Base are already home to the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) and the 178th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group, and Air Force Research Laboratory, the coalition noted in a release Friday.

“Ohio has a combination of heritage, military presence, innovation, supply chain and private-sector expertise in aviation and aerospace that we believe makes it the premier destination for the establishment and long-term success of the U.S. Space Command,” said Dayton-area resident J.P. Naseef, JobsOhio president and CEO.

The coalition pledged to “support a proposal for the Air Force in the coming weeks that highlights the region’s strengths and shows how Space Command can leverage the region’s existing infrastructure and expertise to support this mission.”

A  decision is not imminent. Stars and Stripes newspaper said the Pentagon will not decide until “at least” 2021 where to locate the headquarters of Space Command.

The Air Force said Colorado Springs will serve as the provisional headquarters for U.S. Space Command until a permanent headquarters location is selected and facilities are ready “in approximately six years.”