Space Force, the proposed new branch of the U.S. military, may be establishing its new headquarters in Florida. At least that’s the idea of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Earlier this week, DeSantis said it would make “strategic sense” to base the new force at Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center. Located on Florida’s east coast in Brevard County, an hour outside of Orlando, the Cape is home to both NASA and U.S. Air Force launch facilities, as well as scores of support companies like Harris, Lockheed Martin, SpaceX, and United Launch Alliance.
“I think we have, obviously, facilities such as Cape Canaveral where that would be a natural fit,” said DeSantis, according to a report from Florida Today. “I think that would be very good for the state of Florida. But I also think, given our history in space, given all the resources that are now in Florida, I think it would make a lot of strategic sense to do that.”
While President Trump has been talking about creating the Space Force for some time, earlier this week, he signed a new directive tasking the Department of Defense with creating the legislation necessary to establish the Space Force under the Air Force. According to Florida Today, an estimated 13,000 service members will make up the new command, and its creation may cost more than $10 billion. However, the president is likely to face opposition in Congress from Democrats and from some leaders at the Pentagon.
Many Floridians with ties to aerospace support the bid to bring the Space Force to the Sunshine State. Florida is already home to several military bases, including a nuclear ballistic missile submarine base at Cape Canaveral, the headquarters for Central Command (CENTCOM) in Tampa, Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) headquarters near Miami, and several training facilities throughout the panhandle region used by Special Operations Forces. Civilian leaders in Florida know that moving the Space Force to the state would mean job creation.
“There’s a lot of logic for putting the combatant command close to point of operations, and that is going to be Florida and in particular the Cape area,” said Frank DiBello, president & CEO of Space Florida. “The Cape Canaveral Spaceport is developing the capability for rapid response and for multiple launches, sometimes near simultaneous launches. And we hope over the next decade to be, from a capacity point of view, able to get up to 100 launches a year.”
This article was written by Joseph LeFave
Feature photo: The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with the Dragon spacecraft onboard, launches from pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on June 3, 2017 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. (Getty Images)