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Rubio Leads Florida Colleagues in Urging DOD to Select Florida as U.S. Space Command Headquarters

Mar 11, 2020 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) led his Florida colleagues in urging Secretary of Defense Mark Esper to select Florida as the permanent location for the headquarters of the United States Space Command (USSPACECOM). Recently, Secretary Esper testified to Congress that the Department of Defense (DOD) would be reassessing where the permanent location for USSPACECOM headquarters should be located.
“Since John F. Kennedy first challenged the country to probe the vast unknown of space and land a man on the moon, the State of Florida has been at the forefront in this great national endeavor,” the lawmakers wrote. “Subsequently, we wholeheartedly urge you to select the great State of Florida as the location for USSPACECOM.”
In December 2018, Rubio urged then Secretary of Defense James Mattis to headquarter USSPACECOM in Florida, given the extensive history the state has as the U.S. gateway to the stars. Last May, Rubio led the entire Florida congressional delegation expressing concern over the lack of transparency in the DOD’s selection process for the USSPACECOM headquarters after Florida was excluded from the list of installations that were under consideration.
Joining Rubio in sending the letter were Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) and Representatives Michael Waltz (R-FL), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Neil Dunn, M.D. (R-FL), Bill Posey (R-FL), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Ted Yoho (R-FL), Daniel Webster (R-FL), John Rutherford (R-FL), Ross Spano (R-FL), Charlie Crist (D-FL), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Val Demings (D-FL), Kathy Castor (D-FL), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL), Donna Shalala (D-FL), Darren Soto (D-FL), Al Lawson (D-FL), Brian Mast (R-FL), Francis Rooney (R-FL), Greg Steube (R-FL), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Vern Buchanan (R-FL), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), and Frederica Wilson (D-FL).
The full text of the letter is below.
Dear Secretary Esper:
Since John F. Kennedy first challenged the country to probe the vast unknown of space and land a man on the moon, the State of Florida has been at the forefront in this great national endeavor. Our great state has much to offer for the future of space related activities. As such, we were pleased that your recent testimony to the Senate Committee on Armed Services stated that the Department of Defense (DOD) would be undertaking a transparent, nonpartisan and iterative process to reassess the permanent location of the United States Space Command (USSPACECOM) Headquarters. Subsequently, we wholeheartedly urge you to select the great State of Florida as the location for USSPACECOM.
Every American manned mission to space began its voyage on Florida soil. Apollo, the Space Shuttle, and the Mars Rover all launched from Florida. Last month, the newest service of our military, the United States Space Force, launched its first rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Our state has led the charge in the renaissance of the space industry in the last decade. Through the committed efforts of leaders past and present, Florida has cultivated a synergistic relationship between federal and state agencies, branches of the military, and the private sector to advance U.S. leadership in space. Florida is also home to several excellent institutions of higher education with a long history of prioritizing space research and innovation which would be a great asset to USSPACECOM as the Space Force grows.
Maintaining technological superiority in space, projecting power from above, deterring our adversaries, and preserving our national security through the acceleration of our space systems is our nation’s next challenge. Florida’s reputation as the most military-friendly state in the nation is unrivaled. Few states can compare with the training opportunities and expansive testing ranges our state affords its tenant commands. In addition to 20 active duty military installations around the state, SOCOM, CENTCOM, and SOUTHCOM all call Florida home. We hope the additional positive benefits Florida brings to the future of space operations will factor into your upcoming decision on where to locate USSPACECOM.
We appreciate your consideration in this matter, and look forward to discussing more about what Florida, the gateway to the stars, has to offer.