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Lawmakers Petition Trump to Put New Space Force COCOM Headquarters in Florida

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting of the National Space Council in the East Room of the White House, Monday, June 18, 2018, in Washington.  Vice President Mike Pence is left.  (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting of the National Space Council in the East Room of the White House, Monday, June 18, 2018, in Washington. Vice President Mike Pence is left. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Florida lawmakers are already petitioning President Donald Trump to place part of the newly minted U.S. Space Force in their state.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican, said he will formally ask the president to locate the department's unified combatant command for space at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral.

"I am formally sending a request to @realDonaldTrump to place the headquarters for the Space Force Combatant Command here in Florida @NASAKennedy in Cape Canaveral," DeSantis tweeted Tuesday.

"This is part of Florida's history and is a logical fit for our state," he wrote of the base, which conducts military and commercial space launches.

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DeSantis is one of nearly a dozen elected officials vying to have Space Command placed in Florida.

In a letter to acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, Republican Reps. Michael Waltz and Bill Posey, members of the House Armed Services Committee, and 11 other Florida lawmakers said their state remains "the epicenter of America's space program," Stars and Stripes reported.

If they get their way, Space Command would join Central Command, Southern Command and Special Operations Command as the fourth combatant command in the state.

In a ceremony Tuesday, Trump signed Space Policy Directive-4, which lays a critical foundation to create the Department of the Space Force.

If approved by Congress, the Space Force will fall within the Department of the Air Force, according to the directive.

The idea to organize Space Force under the Air Force first made waves in December. That same month, Trump signed a memorandum creating the newest unified, combatant command: U.S. Space Command.

"Space Force," as the president calls it, encompasses both the proposed Department of the Space Force and the U.S. Space Force military service.

This includes the unified U.S. Space Command and the Space Development Agency, which will oversee procurement of new satellites, among other capabilities, much like the Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base does now.

Last month, Shanahan said the Defense Department has identified a four-star general to head the new combatant command, but did not name the person.

"We're working through the legislative branch on getting a commander confirmed to be the head of U.S. Space Command," a senior administration official said during a background phone call with reporters on Tuesday ahead of the president's signing of the document. "So, depending on that timeline and working with [Capitol Hill], it will help us establish the exact timeline for when we will [begin forming] U.S. Space Command."

For that reason, the location of the command is not addressed in the directive, the official said.

U.S. Air Force Space Command is located at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs.

Space policy and budget experts have previously said it would be wise to streamline operations at Peterson because the base already hosts a robust space mission.

The administration official said that the DoD wants to limit its infrastructure to save costs where it can, but hinted it's not impossible the mission could move elsewhere. "There will be an official DoD basing study that will be done to determine the final location of U.S. Space Command," the official said.

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

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