Space Force's STARCOM HQ Preferred Location Is Florida Base, Service Says

Florida’s Patrick Space Force Base was announced as the preferred headquarters location for STARCOM, the Air Force’s training and education command.
Florida’s Patrick Space Force Base was announced as the preferred headquarters location for STARCOM, the Air Force’s training and education command. (Defense Department photo)

The Department of the Air Force selected Florida's Patrick Space Force Base on Wednesday as the preferred headquarters location for STARCOM, the service's training and education command.

Space Training and Readiness Command had been temporarily headquartered at Peterson Space Force Base in Colorado since it was organized under the then-newly created Space Force in 2021. The decision, announced in a press release Wednesday, has been deliberated for years and was quickly praised by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

"From Project Mercury to today's privatized spaceflight, Americans look to Florida's Space Coast to see history in the making," DeSantis said in a press statement. "We are honored to host the Space Training and Readiness Command headquarters and continue Florida's history as America's gateway to outer space."

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STARCOM's Space Delta 10, the group underneath STARCOM that is responsible for doctrine and war gaming, will also be located at Patrick, according to a Space Force press release.

The locations for two other Space Deltas, which are overseen by STARCOM, were also announced.

Space Delta 11, which "delivers realistic, threat-informed test and training environments through the provision of live, virtual and constructive range and combat replication capabilities," is expected to be located at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, according to the press release.

Space Delta 12, a unit responsible for testing and evaluating space systems, is expected to be located at Schriever Space Force Base, Colorado.

"The decision to host STARCOM HQ and the three Deltas at their respective bases came after conducting site surveys at each location to assess their ability to facilitate the mission and infrastructure capacity, while accounting for community support, environmental factors and cost," the Space Force said.

The Department of the Air Force's next step will be to conduct an environmental impact analysis at the bases for STARCOM and the Space Deltas, which is "expected to be completed later this year before final decisions are made," according to the press release.

The STARCOM headquarters announcement comes as lawmakers in Alabama and Colorado continue to squabble over where U.S. Space Command, the unified combatant command that oversees all military operations in space, will ultimately be based.

A decision on whether the headquarters for U.S. Space Command will remain in Colorado or move to Alabama has been held up because the Department of the Air Force is doing an extra layer of review, delaying a final announcement that has dragged on since the Trump era.

Two watchdog reports, requested by members of Colorado's delegation in Washington, D.C., followed the official announcement of Huntsville as the preferred location in 2021. They did not point to any major issues with Huntsville as a location for the base, but did scrutinize the process for choosing the location.

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall told in March that the final decision will come "fairly soon" but further analysis is needed.

The Supreme Court's ruling last year to overturn Roe v. Wade -- known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization -- has also been seen as potentially impacting the decision to move Space Command from Colorado to Alabama and was also seen as a possible factor for STARCOM.

STARCOM's finalist locations included Space Force bases in either California or Colorado -- where abortion access is widespread and mostly unrestricted. Patrick Space Force Base is located in Florida, where last month DeSantis signed into law a bill to ban abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.

Rose Riley, a spokeswoman for the Department of the Air Force, which oversees the Space Force, did not directly answer when asked this past August whether the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe was being considered in the basing choice.

But Riley said at the time that officials were looking at how the issue affects the quality of life and options for all airmen and Guardians.

"The Department of the Air Force is conducting site surveys at each candidate location to determine which is best suited to host STARCOM based on factors related to mission, infrastructure capacity, environmental considerations, cost, child care, housing affordability and access to military/veteran support," Riley said.

She added, "Air Force leaders are working closely with the Office of the Secretary of Defense to review the impact on the force of the Supreme Court's recent ruling in Dobbs."

-- Thomas Novelly can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @TomNovelly.

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