ALBUQUERQUE — The city of Albuquerque has announced that it is being considered to permanently locate the U.S. Space Command, the latest of 11 unified command under the U.S. Department of Defense.
The U.S. Air Force narrowed down its final options to Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, Patrick Air Force Base in Florida, Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, Redstone Army Airfield in Alabama and Port San Antonio in Texas. Its current temporary headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado is also a finalist.
Assistant Air Force Secretary John Henderson sent a letter to Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller on Thursday congratulating the city and state for being designated as a “candidate location” with five others for consideration.
The Department of Defense said Albuquerque was one of 31 cities originally considered. A final decision is expected in January after the department conducts virtual and in-person site surveys.
Keller and Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham submitted a letter of interest in June, a month after the Air Force began its search.
“Our state’s strong and growing role in space exploration, space science and national security related space matters puts it in a strong position to become the home of the new Space Command,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement Thursday. “We look forward to working with the Department of Defense in the weeks and months ahead.”
The new command would bring more than 1,000 new jobs and the potential for billions in spending and contracts in New Mexico. Government officials believe Albuquerque stands a fighting chance given the state’s extensive military and space-related assets.