8 Communities Compete to Be U.S. Space Force’s Florida Headquarters

Governor Ron DeSantis has endorsed all eight nomination letters for communities looking to host the U.S. Space Force headquarters. Following a call on Tuesday, June 7, with staff from the Florida Congressional delegation, Space Florida announced Gov. Ron DeSantis had endorsed the nomination letters from all eight communities vying for the Space Force headquarters. Space Florida is the state’s aerospace economic development agency. 

DeSantis announced his endorsements of the proposals on Monday in a letter to Air Force Assistant Secretary John Henderson, noting the state’s long history of supporting American space exploration and technology through Kennedy Space Center, the 45th Space Wing and the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Brevard County, Hillsborough County, city of Jacksonville, city of Miami-Dade, Orange County, city of Pensacola, Pinellas County and Seminole County are the 8 Florida communities hoping to be the next home of the United States Space Force. Other cities that submitted their bids are  Jacksonville, Tampa-Hillsborough County, Palm Bay, Melbourne and Titusville. Those eight Florida areas now join a number of other cities from across the country vying to host the headquarters of the U.S. military’s 11th combatant command, established last year, which will oversee the space operations of all of the country’s military services.

Other hopeful contenders for the U.S. Space Command headquarters are the city of Anchorage, Alaska. The City has submitted a nomination endorsed by Gov. Mike Dunleavy; a bipartisan group of U.S. congressional representatives from Texas has sought consideration for the city of Houston, and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is pushing for Space Command headquarters to come to Dayton, host city for Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Brevard, Seminole and Orange counties are along or near the state’s “Space Coast, whose 72 miles along the Atlantic Ocean include Cape Canaveral, a center of the U.S. space program. In Florida’s Space Coast, you may also find the location of NASA and of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (KSCVC).

The newly renovated Space Shop at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Photo: www.visitspacecoast.com

Eligibility requirements for consideration by the Air Force were that the communities had to be among the top 150 Metropolitan Statistical Areas in the country, be within 25 miles of a military base, and have a minimum score of 50 on the Livability Index published by the American Association of Retired Persons Public Policy Institute. 

Florida already hosts several important Space Command headquarters, such as Central Command, whose area of responsibility stretches from northeast Africa to south Asia, and the U.S. Special Operations Command, both at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, and Southern Command, based in Doral, whose area of responsibility includes Central America, South America and the Caribbean Sea.

Once the U.S. Space Force’s headquarters are established, wherever that may be, it will house 1,400 military and civilian personnel. For now, U.S. Space Command is temporarily headquartered at Colorado’s Peterson Air Force Base. The Air Force plans to make a decision on a permanent home for the command headquarters in early 2021, according to John Henderson, assistant Air Force secretary for installations, environment and energy.