Back in May 2020, the Department of the Air Force announced its open bidding process for the U.S. Space Command headquarters, and after narrowing the options down to six locations, the U.S. Space Command has landed on Redstone Army Airfield, Alabama. Alabama beat out Colorado, New Mexico, Florida, Texas, and Nebraska. While headquarters may take up to six years to build, the U.S. Space Command will continue to reside at its Peterson Air Force Base, CO provisional headquarters.
Selection Criteria for US. Space Command
In August 2019, the U.S. Space Command became the 11th unified combatant command. The military estimates that it will have 1,400 military and civilian personnel at its new headquarters. Criteria for headquarter selection included housing factors, as well as proximity to military bases with space assets. Redstone Arsenal hosts the Army Space and Missile Command, Army Aviation and Missile Command, the Defense Intelligence Agency/Missile and Space Intelligence Center, and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency. With the FBI also touting Huntsville, AL as “the Silicon Valley of the South,” it’s clear that the state has a lot to offer the defense industry and its residents.
Alabama Celebrates the Win
“This is outstanding news, not only for our state but also for the Air Force,” U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby said. “This long-awaited decision by the Air Force is a true testament to all that Alabama has to offer. Huntsville is the right pick for a host of reasons – our skilled workforce, proximity to supporting space entities, cost-effectiveness, and quality of life, among other things. I am thrilled that the Air Force has chosen Redstone and look forward to the vast economic impact this will have on Alabama and the benefits this will bring to the Air Force.”
“Our state has long provided exceptional support for our military and their families as well as a rich and storied history when it comes to space exploration,” Gov. Kay Ivey said. “This combination only enhances the outstanding relationships we have with the 65 diverse federal agencies on Redstone Arsenal, not to mention the growing presence of the FBI and other federal installations. The bottom line is simple, the Redstone Region is the most natural choice to become home to such an important mission for our country.”
Another Chapter in the Space History Book
Alabama’s aerospace history is long, and this is another chapter in it. The Huntsville area is filled with candidates interested in working in the space industry, and while the Air Force had a lot of great options, Alabama seems to be an obvious choice. With Redstone Arsenal providing a home to 65 federal agencies with a federal budget of more than $50 billion, the state is a top choice for cleared candidates who want to balance compensation with cost of living advantages.