Olson/Babin: Space City Should Be New Home of US Space Command
Washington, DC — Today, Congressmen Pete Olson (TX-22) and Brian Babin (TX-36) led a bipartisan letter to U.S. Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett recommending Houston, Texas to be considered as the home of the United States Space Command. Signers of the letter also include: Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Kevin Brady (TX-06), Michael McCaul (TX-10), Al Green (TX-09), Randy Weber (TX-14), Dan Crenshaw (TX-02), Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07), and Sylvia Garcia (TX-29).
“Houston is the fourth-largest city in the nation and the proud home of NASA’s Johnson Space Center,” Rep. Olson said. “As home to the Ellington Joint Reserve Base, Mission Control and training for America’s astronauts, Houston is uniquely positioned to host this mission. We have the expertise, experience and military presence to provide the workforce support needed for an operation of this caliber. We urge Secretary Barrett to give all due consideration to Houston as the future home to U.S. Space Command.”
“Houston is the perfect home for the United States Space Command,” said Congressman Brian Babin.“For decades, this region has led in space, and we continue to do so to this day. In fact, Houston’s leadership in space exploration over the years has earned it the moniker ‘Space City.’ It would be a wise decision for Ellington to be chosen as the permanent home of USSPACECOM. After all, first small steps and giant leaps are what we excel at.”
The U.S. Air Force on May 15 announced an open bidding process to select the permanent location of U.S. Space Command headquarters. The new process allows any state with large military bases to compete to host U.S. Space Command. Bids are due June 30. U.S. Space Command was established in August 2019 as the military’s 11th unified combatant command. The future headquarters will have approximately 1,400 military and civilian personnel working there.
The full text of the letter follows:
Dear Secretary Barrett:
As members of the Houston Delegation, we commend your leadership in expanding possible basing locations for the U.S. Space Command (USSPACECOM) headquarters. As you laid out in the Evaluation Criteria for potential basing, “Communities must meet three minimum screening criteria to be eligible for self-nomination,” and we can assure you Houston, Texas meets or exceeds every one of them.
Houston is the fourth-largest city in the nation with a population of over 2 million people and is the proud home to Ellington Joint Reserve Base (EJRB). This military installation is strategically located just a few miles away from Johnson Space Center and is a designated Spaceport by the Federal Aviation Administration. EJRB currently houses multiple strategic facilities for NASA, including NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory, and has been selected as one of the testing facilities for NASA’s X-Plane program.
EJRB also has a robust Armed Service presence with Army Reserve, Navy Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, Air National Guard, and Coast Guard, all currently stationed at the base. Notably, this military installation houses the Army Reserve 75th Innovation Command, which is at the forefront of the Army’s modernization effort. EJRB is also home to Texas Air National Guard’s 147th Attack Wing, which is a critical contributor in the war on terror. As you know, Texas has a long, proud history of supporting our military. We also have the resources, universities, and human capital to support something as important as the nation’s U.S. Space Command and the U.S. Space Force. Houston has supported the aerospace, aviation, and defense industries for decades, giving it a workforce that can contribute to the mission of the U.S. Space Command and the U.S. Space Force.
Leading in space is so synonymous with Houston that in 1967 it was given the nickname “Space City.” Houston’s population, along with its proximity to Ellington Joint Reserve Base and favorable Livability Index score, makes it the ideal location for the USSPACECOM headquarters. When selecting the future permanent home and headquarters of USSPACECOM, we respectfully urge that you provide Houston due consideration.