This week, the Florida delegation urged U.S. Defense Sec. Mark Esper to select Florida as the permanent location for the headquarters of the United States Space Command (USSPACECOM). Recently, Esper testified to Congress that the Department of Defense (DOD) would be reassessing where the permanent location for USSPACECOM headquarters should be located.
The letter was signed by U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Rick Scott, R-Fla., and U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., Kathy Castor, D-Fla., Charlie Crist, D-Fla., Val Demings, D-Fla., Ted Deutch, D-Fla., Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., Neil Dunn, R-Fla., Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., Al Lawson, D-Fla., Brian Mast, R-Fla., Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Fla., Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., Bill Posey, R-Fla., Francis Rooney, R-Fla., John Rutherford, R-Fla., Donna Shalala, D-Fla., Darren Soto, D-Fla., Ross Spano, R-Fla., Greg Steube, R-Fla., Michael Waltz, R-Fla., Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., Daniel Webster, R-Fla., Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., and Ted Yoho, R-Fla.,
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.