U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) sent a letter to outgoing U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis asking him to consider establishing the headquarters for the U.S. Space Command in Florida.
Rubio supports the reestablishment of the U.S. Space Command under the auspices of the U.S. Air Force. Rubio called it essential to U.S. national security in deterring attacks against U.S. space systems.
In his letter to Mattis, Rubio cited Florida’s long history as a space center.
“In 1950, Cape Canaveral, Florida, launched its first rocket, reaching an altitude of nearly 250 miles. Since then, Florida has been the epicenter of space, launching the first American suborbital flight and the first American to orbit Earth,” Rubio wrote to Mattis. “Years after those monumental programs, it was in Florida where the most powerful rocket ever built, ignited, sending humans towards the heavens, to step foot on the moon. For thirty years, the space shuttle ferried astronauts from Cape Canaveral. Today, Florida’s space coast continues to lead the world in space.”
Mattis announced his resignation on Dec. 21. He will leave his post at the request of President Donald Trump on Jan. 1. Patrick Shanahan, the deputy secretary of defense under Mattis, has been named acting Secretary of Defense effective Jan. 1.
“U.S. Space Command will be essential to American national security through the acceleration of space capabilities to defend our national interests and deter our adversaries,” Rubio added in his letter. “As you begin the process of identifying leadership and the location for the headquarters, I urge you to headquarter USSPACECOM in Florida. Given the extensive history the State of Florida has as the U.S. gateway to the stars, it is only fitting that Florida be home to USSPACECOM.”