A military installation in Santa Barbara County has been named a finalist to become the home of a new overseeing headquarters US space force education and training, leading local legislators to push to make it a reality.
In addition to Vandenberg, other possible sites include Los Angeles Air Force Base (to be renamed Space Force Base in the future) in California and Patrick SFB in Florida, as well as Buckley SFB, Schriever SFB and Peterson SFB, all in Colorado.
Congressman Salud Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, said Vandenberg already serves as the premier launch site on the West Coast and is the cornerstone of space training programs.
“I advocated for Vandenberg both because of the innovation it will foster in our own backyard, but also for the jobs and economic opportunity it will create for our communities,” Carbajal said. “I am pleased to see that he is under consideration for selection, and I look forward to continuing to engage with the department as he enters the next phase of his evaluations.”
For decades, Vandenberg served as a training center for intercontinental ballistic missile crew members and managers at what was informally known as “Missile University”.
Base closures in other states also brought space-related training programs to Vandenberg in the 1990s, meaning enlisted members and officers assigned to space and missile careers would follow. their job-related courses on the Central Coast.
A coalition of educational and other organizations provided “enthusiastic and wholehearted support” and called Vandenberg “the natural and intuitive fit” for STARCOM.
This coalition is led by REACH Central Coast and was signed by a number of local leaders, urging Vandenberg’s selection.
Vandenberg, as the Department of Air Force’s third largest facility, has the capability to add and centralize Space Force training activities.
“The region has truly come together around a growing commercial space, and hosting this high-level Space Force command would create a new center of gravity in the Central Coast space ecosystem and a catalyst for public and private investments,” said REACH President and CEO Melissa James. “As a VSFB-designated Community Support Organization, REACH looks forward to working alongside the grassroots throughout this process and showcasing what the Central Coast has to offer.”
STARCOM will have five units, or Deltas, according to officials.
Delta 1, located in Vandenberg, offers initial training, specialized follow-up training for warfighters, and advanced training events and courses to prepare Space Force members and designated joint and allied partners.
Patrick SFB is the only location being considered for Delta 10, which will focus on doctrine and wargaming.
Schriever SFB and Kirtland AFB, New Mexico, are candidates to host two more units.
A permanent home for Delta 13, also focused on education, will be considered once the Space Force establishes the program and structure, military officials said. Choosing the house will involve the Air Force strategic base process.
The Air Force plans to begin site surveys in late April or early May to determine which location is best suited to accommodate STARCOM headquarters.
Evaluation will be based on factors related to mission, infrastructure capacity, community support, environmental considerations and cost.
STARCOM’s corporate headquarters currently operates out of a temporary location in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The same process was used to choose the home of Space Command’s new headquarters, which led to the selection of the Redstone Arsenal in Alabama. Some have taken issue with the choice announced in the final days of President Donald Trump’s administration, saying the decision was based on politics.