Former Nebraska Governors Heineman, Orr add Support
Omaha, Neb., December 10, 2020 – Retired Admiral James O. Ellis, Jr. (USN), former commander of U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), and retired NASA astronaut, Clayton Anderson, today announced their support of Offutt AFB, Nebraska as the permanent location for U.S. Space Command Headquarters (USSPACECOM).
Clayton and Ellis were joined by former Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman and former Nebraska Governor Kay Orr, who also announced their endorsement of Nebraska as USSPACECOM headquarters.
“In 2002, we merged the first United States Space Command with United States Strategic Command in Omaha because of the natural synergies between space operations and all of the strategic roles then resident in USSTRATCOM. Many of those synergies still exist, and I believe co-location of these two important commands would make a great deal of sense, especially given the pro-active ability of the region to craft public-private partnerships and national security research support, and the always-welcoming spirit of the people of Nebraska,” Ellis said.
Currently, The Department of the Air Force is considering six locations for USSPACECOM: Kirtland AFB, New Mexico; Offutt AFB, Nebraska; Patrick AFB, Florida; Peterson AFB, Colorado; Port San Antonio, Texas and Redstone Army Airfield, Alabama.
Offutt Air Force Base, Greater Omaha’s No. 1 employer (with nearly 10,000 military and civilian employees), was announced as a finalist Nov. 19, following a rigorous, point-based, objective review.
“I grew up in Nebraska, was educated in the Midwest, and went on to a 33-year career with NASA, including two missions to the International Space Station. In my experience, Offutt Air Force Base (AFB) is an ideal location to house the U.S. Space Command headquarters,” Anderson said. “The ‘educational infrastructure’ in Nebraska is well-positioned to provide a current, and future, workforce that is steeped in a strong work ethic, integrity and honesty. It is with pleasure and confidence that I support the Offutt AFB candidacy for this important and timely US Space Command headquarters.”
Home to USSTRATCOM, Offutt Air Force Base already houses the 55th Wing, Air Combat Command’s largest wing; the Air Force Weather Agency; the 595th Command & Control Group and the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) Annex. Additionally, Space Command was integrated with USSTRATCOM from January 2003-2016.
“Generations of Nebraskans have proven time and again that they respect our military and support our veterans. There is no better home for the space mission than right here in Nebraska. We are in the middle of everywhere, and stand ready to support Space Command and serve our country’s central command center for the next frontier,” Orr said.
David G. Brown, president and CEO, Greater Omaha Chamber, echoed Orr’s remarks.
“There is no choice better suited for U.S. Space Command’s permanent location than right here at home in Nebraska,” Brown said. “We offer a rich military history, with remarkably collaborative community partners – and a cost of doing business 12 percent lower than the national average. Combine this with a commitment to innovate with honor, excellence and integrity, and we are uniquely prepared for a future that supports USSPACECOM.”
Named the No. 5 metro in the nation for “prosperity,” according to Resonance Consultancy’s annual “America’s Best Cities” report, Greater Omaha’s economic growth outpaces the nation, so much so that MSN dubbed the region a “boomtown” in November 2020, pointing out the Metro’s GDP increased 24 percent between 2012 and 2017.
“Nebraska is the right place for U.S. Space Command. It isn’t just Nebraska’s commitment to mission, history of excellence, or great location. Rather, it is our people and our relationships. Nebraskans know how to get things done and we come together to support military families and veterans. Governor Ricketts is committed to making the case for space to be headquartered right here in Nebraska,” said Sergeant Tony Goins, USMC (1982-1986), Nebraska director of Economic Development.
The USSPACECOM headquarters is expected to host an estimated 1,400 military and civilian personnel in a 400,000 to 450,000-square-foot building. For context, the “new” USSTRATCOM headquarters building hosts 3,500 military and civilian personnel in a 916,000-square-foot building.
About Greater Omaha
Greater Omaha is a No. 1 ranked up-and-coming-tech hotspot, a “top 10 best place to live on a $60,000 salary” and was named America’s No. 2 Best Small City by Resonance Consultancy. Greater Omaha is home to more than 30 communities and nearly 1 million people.