Welcome to the natural home of Space Command
Space Command should remain in Colorado Springs, and Tuesday is the best opportunity for this community to prove it. Please welcome a team from the Pentagon that is visiting Peterson Air Force Base to finalize a report on the suitability of Colorado as the permanent home of the recommissioned combatant command.
This decision is important to Colorado Springs for variety of reasons, including the good professional military and civilian jobs associated with Space Command and the overall economic and cultural benefits to all of Colorado. Far more importantly, Space Command is a critical component of our country’s national defense as China, Russia and others hostile to our way of life race toward military dominance of space.
Placement of Space Command should not involve politics. Washington should locate the command in the location least disruptive to the mission of catching up and winning the race to defend space from enemies of freedom.
By all tactical, practical, social and economic considerations – by nearly all conceivable variables – Colorado Springs emerges as the clear favorite.
Space Command already functions here successfully at Peterson Air Force Base. Moving it would certainly disrupt forward momentum and come at an enormous financial cost.
To move the command, Pentagon officials would decide to abandon billions in assets only to begin building them again in a location that might work out. As explained in this space Dec. 16, all other Space Command finalists come with risks ranging from local political hostilities toward the military and police, public safety concerns, educational limitations, and weather events that destroy property and shut down utilities.
Colorado Springs – frequently topping lists of “best” places to live, retire, and start a career – is well known among the military establishment as the friendliest hometown in the country for military personnel. Getting the best and brightest to move and settle down here has never been a problem. Several surveys identify Colorado Springs as the most coveted relocation destination among millennials.
As home to five major military bases, including the United States Air Force Academy, this community specializes in hosting military personnel and their families. This is already the location of multiple military operations that support and work with Space Command. This is a hub of aerospace technology and defense contracting.
Nearly everything in Colorado Springs is geared toward the military, whether one looks at the community’s three respected four-year colleges, the public and private school systems, the transportation infrastructure, massive nonprofit support network or the business community.
For stability of local government, nowhere beats Colorado Springs. Mayor John Suthers – a former US attorney and Colorado attorney general – is respected and connected throughout the country. Voters consistently elect decorated military retirees and other successful professionals to public office. Members of the City Council are approachable and open to ideas and suggestions from military leaders and others. There is no “defund the police” movement among those in power. City leaders strive to work in partnership with military leaders and personnel.
Cooperation among City Hall and military leaders has been apparent on multiple occasions when the city-owned utility worked with the Air Force Academy, Fort Carson, Peterson Air Force Base, Schriever Air Force Base, NORAD, NORTHCOM and other military entities to improve energy efficiency, reliability, and to offer the best possible rates.
The award-winning Colorado Springs Utilities, among the 20-largest publicly owned utility companies in the country, consistently wins awards for reliability, efficiency, and the diversity of its power portfolio. The enterprise has for years maintained a reliability rate exceeding 99.9%, meaning power outages are unusual and short. Utility board members are responsible to customers and easy to contact.
Colorado Springs voters have generously invested in road upgrades and maintenance, and work is underway to add additional lanes in both directions of I-25 between the Springs and Denver. That means military personnel have easy access to flights in and out of Colorado Springs and Denver International Airport – the country’s largest airport, the fifth busiest, and the best as rated by The Wall Street Journal.
The Gazette has received letters and article submissions from dozens of retired generals and other military leaders arguing in great detail the benefits of keeping Space Command in Colorado Springs. We have not seen one good argument from any source local or national for moving Space Command to some other location.
“Among the six finalists still under consideration, one location stands clearly above the others: Colorado Springs,” explains retired four-star Gen. William R. Looney III, a 40-year veteran who led Air Force space operations as the 14th Air Force commander, in a Military Times article. “…the most important reasons the new combatant command belongs in Colorado Springs are due to impact on national security.”
We welcome the Pentagon team to Colorado Springs, the military’s best hometown. Moving Space Command to any other region comes with risks, needless expenses, and guaranteed disruption to our vital mission of catching up in space. Basing Space Command here guarantees ongoing success for generations into the future. It is the best decision for the entire country.
The Gazette Editorial Board