General James Dickinson said the US Space Command is trying to get to “full operational capability” as soon as possible, but needs a fundamental decision
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The head of the US Space Command said he expects a final decision to be made relatively soon on where the command will have its permanent headquarters.
The Department of the Air Force recommended in January 2021 that Space Command, currently located at Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado, move to Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville. The basic decision has since been involved in a political struggle which Colorado lawmakers have pushed back.
Space Command is responsible for providing satellite-based services to the US military and for protecting those assets from foreign threats.
As required by law, the Air Force last month completed a study on environmental impact to locate Space Command at Redstone Arsenal, and a 30-day public comment period is closing.
The next and presumably final step will be taken by the Air Force Department, which is expected to make the final decision on where the US Space Command goes.
“So we’ll see what happens,” Gen. James Dickinson, head of the US Space Command, said Aug. 9 at the 25th Space and Missile Defense Symposium.
At the request of Colorado legislators, the base selection process has been reviewed by Inspector General for the Ministry of Defence and Public Accountability Office.
“They’re still doing a 30-day public comment period on the draft environmental assessments, and I think we’ll wrap them up in the next week or two,” Dickinson said. The environmental assessments were carried out on six possible locations.
“And then pending the results coming in, they will go to the Department of the Air Force for their final decision,” he said.
In an interview with SpaceNewsDickinson said Space Command is trying to get to “full operational capability” as soon as possible, but needs a fundamental decision to be finalized so it can move forward.
Dickinson a year ago said the command had reached “first operational capability.” To reach full capacity rrequires the headquarters to be fully staffed and have a permanent headquarters.
“Looking to the future, it’s just like any combatant command, you have to have all the resources. And that’s what full operational capability is about, having the resources, the capacity to carry out unified command missions that have been given to me by the president, Dickinson said. “Well, that’s not to say I don’t do them now. I do, but I will be able to make them more comprehensive when I get to FOC.”
When the full capability will be reached depends on having a fundamental decision, he said. “So I’m waiting to find out when that is. We are anxious to get a decision. Once I get that decision, I will be able to give you a better marker on the calendar when I can get to the FOC.”