CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday he formally asked President Donald Trump to consider placing the U.S. Space Command in Cape Canaveral.
"Today, I am formally sending a request to @realDonaldTrump to place the headquarters for the Space Force Combatant Command here in Florida @NASAKennedy in Cape Canaveral," DeSantis tweeted. "This is part of Florida's history and is a logical fit for our state."
Later while speaking in Tallahassee, DeSantis said the request was to establish the U.S. Space Combatant Command in Florida but made no mention of Space Force.
The governor said Florida is the logical choice because the state is already home to three central commands: Central Command and Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa and U.S. Southern Command in Miami.
Separate from the yet-established Space Force, the U.S. Space Command was previously created in 1985 to coordinate the use of outer space by the branches of the U.S. military and later disbanded.
Trump ordered former Secretary of Defense James Mattis in December to re-establish the U.S. Space Command to oversee national security missions conducted in space. The U.S. Space Command will be the 11th combatant command and does not require congressional approval, like creating another branch of the military.
DeSantis and legislators took part Tuesday in Florida's annual Space Day in Tallahassee. Officials with Florida's spaceport authority, Space Florida, confirmed that both the combatant command and Space Florida were a reoccurring topic during the day dedicated to the aerospace industry and its impact on Florida’s economy.
Space Florida has been advocating for either Space Force or the U.S. Space Command to be established on the Space Coast.
Dale Ketcham, Space Florida's vice president of government and external relations, said Florida would be an ideal place to establish Space Florida and the U.S. Space Command.
"Part of the rational is there is no other state where you can put the users of space assets closer to the boots on the ground," Ketcham said.
Additionally, Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Orlando) and other U.S. representatives from Florida sent a letter to Tuesday to Trump in support of establishing U.S. Space Command in Florida.
“Florida, with its existing civilian and commercial space infrastructure and launch capabilities, is uniquely suited, and the logical choice to local USSPACECOM headquarters to counteract these growing threats,” said Murphy along with other members of the Florida Congressional delegation.
Trump signed a Space Directive Tuesday afternoon that would establish the Space Force and give presidential direction to establish the new branch within the Air Force.
Following Trump's signing of the directive, a legislative proposal will be sent to Congress seeking the necessary authority and funds to establish the new military service.
With Democrats in control the House, congressional support for the proposal to establish a new branch of the military is not a guarantee.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted his support of the directive soon after Trump signed it, adding that in 2017, a similar, bipartisan proposal received 344 votes in Congress and he voted for it.
"Civilization is dependent on freedom of navigation in space. SPD-4 ensures our freedom continues. @NASA has billions of dollars of assets and a permanent human presence in space," Bridentine said in a tweet. "NASA will not have a direct role, but I support @POTUS Trump’s announcement."
This is a developing story and will be updated.
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