Space Command HQ benefits from Colorado’s universities, scientists and aerospace engineers, say officials

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Colorado U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse was among those who joined Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland at Camp Amache National Historic Site on. Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022, where more than 7,000 Japanese Americans were forcibly held during World War II. The visited was timed to coincide with the Senate clearing the way for a bill that would make the site near Granada part of the National Park System, and with the 80th anniversary of the federal order establishing such camps.

Colorado’s universities and robust aerospace workforce are part of the latest pitch to keep Space Command headquarters in Colorado. This time it’s coming from Rep. Joe Neguse and leaders of Colorado's higher education community.

They have all written Defense Sec. Lloyd Austin and Sec. of the Air Force Frank Kendall to highlight Colorado’s research and scientific labs that would benefit Space Command.

“Colorado’s universities have been training and fostering this talented pool of aerospace engineers and scientists for decades,” writes Neguse. “As a former Regent of the University of Colorado system, I’ve seen first-hand the important work our universities do to grow and maintain a strong aerospace workforce and I believe Colorado remains the best place for this work to continue.”

Neguse stressed that Colorado has the second-largest aerospace economy and workforce, and that keeping Space Command at Peterson Space Force Base would help protect national security.

Neguse's letter echos the sentiments of more than 20 academic leaders, who also wrote the two military leaders highlighting the research capabilities in the state. 

“Our institutions are at the forefront of the nation’s leading space research, including studying and advancing the knowledge of our Earth Systems as well as investigating Low-Earth Orbit and beyond,” they wrote. “Addressing areas of strategic importance, including space domain awareness, unmanned aircraft systems, propulsion, remote sensing and cybersecurity, etc., allows our faculty researchers to assist efforts at the Pentagon and on the front lines to keep us safe and protect our way of life.”

They offered to host them at one of their institutions during any future visit to the state.

This is the latest attempt by state leaders to convince the Biden administration to revisit the basing decision for the permanent headquarters of Space Command. Former President Donald Trump reportedly decided to move the headquarters to Alabama, over the recommendation from his military leaders to keep the headquarters in Colorado Springs.

Members of the Colorado Congressional delegation believe that the findings from the GAO Inspector General report will show that the methodology for the basing decision was flawed.

That report has yet to be made public.