STRATCOM Will Get a Piece of Space Force Mission, General Says

The U.S. Air Force’s 45th Space Wing in support of United Launch Alliance’s successful launch of the third Space Based Infrared Systems Geosynchronous Earth Orbit spacecraft aboard an Atlas V rocket from Launch Complex 41 Jan. 20, 2017. (Courtesy photo by United Launch Alliance)
The U.S. Air Force’s 45th Space Wing in support of United Launch Alliance’s successful launch of the third Space Based Infrared Systems Geosynchronous Earth Orbit spacecraft aboard an Atlas V rocket from Launch Complex 41 Jan. 20, 2017. (Courtesy photo by United Launch Alliance)

No matter where President Donald Trump's latest combatant command ends up headquartered, a part of its mission will remain with STRATCOM, said the head of U.S. Strategic Command.

"We are going to continue to perform a lot of the mission for Space Command in the STRATCOM headquarters," Gen. John Hyten told lawmakers Tuesday at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

He said it will be called Space Command East or West, depending on where the official U.S. Space Command is based.

STRATCOM "will be Space Command East. Omaha is East … if [the new headquarters is] in Colorado," Hyten said. "If it's in Florida, it will be Space Command West. If it's in Alabama, it will be Space Command West."

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Currently, 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 it already hosts a robust space mission.

STRATCOM is scheduled to move into a new $1.3 billion building at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, this summer. Pentagon auditors are looking into the program, which has fallen 20 months behind schedule and sustained substantial cost overruns, the Omaha World-Herald reported this week.

Hyten's comments come as Florida lawmakers have begun petitioning Trump to place part of the newly minted U.S. Space Force in their state.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, said Feb. 19 he intends to formally ask the president to locate the unified combatant command for space at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral. He is one of nearly a dozen elected officials vying to have Space Command located in Florida.

Both the Army and Missile Defense Agency have a large presence in Huntsville, Alabama, and are involved in commercial and military space operations. It's also the home state of Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Alabama, who pushed for a "Space Corps" within the Air Force in the months preceding Trump's Space Force announcement.

If approved by Congress, the Space Force will fall within the Department of the Air Force. But a unified combatant command -- what officials say is the stepping stone to creating a U.S. Space Force -- does not need congressional approval to be established.

Hyten said he, like Air Force, is on board with the current proposal being put forth to lawmakers.

"I support the concept of the Space Force inside the Air Force that the president is now pushing," he said Tuesday. "The legislative proposal should come to you shortly."

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

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