The Air Force is narrowing down the best location to house the Defense Department’s newest unified combatant command, and many of the bases in top contention are in Colorado, according to a new CNN report.
Air Force officials are still reviewing installations to house U.S. Space Command, which officials have called a stepping stone to creating a U.S. Space Force, Business Insider informs.
“No candidate basing lists have been sent to the secretary of the Air Force for consideration,” service spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said in a statement Monday.
Citing an Air Force Space Command memorandum it obtained, CNN reported last week that the Air Force may choose from four Colorado locations, including Buckley Air Force Base, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, Peterson Air Force Base, and Schriever Air Force Base. Other options are the Army’s Redstone Arsenal in Alabama and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
Responding to the report, a Defense Department official said some bases have been identified, but no decision has been made. It is unclear whether Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson will make the decision or whether it will fall to her successor.
Meanwhile, SpaceNews reports that Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan laid out his most forceful case to date for the establishment of the new military branch.
Shanahan argued that standing up a Space Force is what it will take to ensure the United States stays ahead of adversaries that are advancing their space capabilities.
He cast the issue as a matter of both national and economic security. Most of the substance of Shanahan’s remarks were about the Space Development Agency, a new organization stood up March 12 and led by former DARPA official Fred Kennedy.
Shanahan has made the new agency one of his signature issues. The work of the SDA is not just important to national security but also to the nation’s space economy, he said.
“In addition to the threat, we also see thousands of satellites going into space in the next few years as the cost of launch continues to come down and space technology rapidly advances,” he said. “This will unlock new opportunities and increase the importance of space for the American economy,” Shanahan noted.