09.20.20

Colorado’s commanding lead in space

Shortly before U.S. Space Command was originally established in Colorado Springs, President Ronald Reagan delivered a commencement address for the Air Force Academy class of 1984. Speaking at Falcon Stadium, he remarked how the pioneering spirit of the West would chart our country’s future in space:

“Our willingness to accept the challenge of space will reflect whether America’s men and women today have the same bold vision, the same courage and indomitable spirit that made us a great nation. Where would we be if the brave men and women who built the West let the unknowns and dangers overwhelm them?”

Whether it’s because of our pioneering spirit or because we are “a mile closer to space,” the nation has long looked to Colorado to lead in the space domain. As we celebrate one year of U.S. Space Command headquarters’ reestablishment in Colorado Springs, we must look ahead to the opportunities, challenges and threats that face our nation.

That’s why this month I launched the bipartisan U.S. Senate Space Force Caucus.

This caucus will be an important platform for our nation’s leaders to work across the aisle to support the brave men and women who serve our country in the sixth and newest branch of our nation’s armed forces. It will provide an opportunity for my colleagues and their staffs to learn more about military space operations, the threats we face, and the vital role that Colorado has in supporting and conducting these operations.

Our state is home to the only two Space Force garrisons in the country. The academy is educating and training future Space Force leaders. And of course, Peterson Air Force Base is the provisional headquarters of U.S. Space Command.

But it’s not just our men and women serving in the military who support these operations — more than 190,000 Coloradans work in space-related careers and contribute to our aerospace economy, the largest per capita in the United States.

Our universities provide some of the highest-acclaimed aerospace programs in the nation and supply the workforce pipeline needed to meet the aerospace industry of the future.

But not everyone in Washington understands these vital operations the way Colorado does. The Senate Space Force Caucus will help educate our nation’s leaders on the invaluable work done in Colorado and the importance of Space Force and Space Command.

It will bring the voices of Colorado experts to the Capitol, similar to when I had the honor of introducing Gen. John Raymond for his nomination hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee to lead U.S. Space Command.

As I said at his hearing, you cannot discuss space or space operations without relying on his tremendous career of work and service. And to support the Space Force and America’s leadership in space, we must listen to the Coloradans whose ingenuity, entrepreneurship, and expertise have made our country’s space programs the envy of the world.

This next year will be instrumental in shaping the future of the Space Force and Space Command, with a permanent decision on the location of Space Command’s headquarters expected in January.

Through this new caucus and my continued bipartisan efforts with Sen. Michael Bennet and Gov. Jared Polis, I will make sure that Washington understands that Colorado isn’t just “a mile closer to space.” We’re also miles ahead.

 

U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO)

Colorado Springs Gazette