Congratulations to Air Force Gen. Jay Raymond, whom President Donald Trump announced Tuesday as his nominee to command the reactivated U.S. Space Command. Raymond will double in his role as commander of Air Force Space Command, with each operation at Peterson Air Force Base.

The appointment could bode well for Colorado Springs in a competition with multiple other cities and states that want to host Space Force, a branch of the military Trump hopes to launch.

The government shuttered the original Space Command, based in Colorado Springs, in 2003 to establish U.S. Northern Command. The Pentagon reauthorized Space Command as part of the Trump administration’s new emphasis on military space operations.

Politicians and Pentagon brass make good arguments for and against a separate Space Force military branch, but one thing is not up for debate: Colorado Springs is the natural and logical location for expansion of military space operations of any scale.

No matter how the Pentagon structures them going forward, space operations will have a close and intractable relationship with the Air Force. Air and space go together. That is why we have the term “aerospace” and nearly 270 museums throughout the United States dedicated to air and space.

The Air Force operates our country’s space-based missile warning systems, communications, intelligence and navigation satellites.

Colorado Springs hosts the country’s only Air Force Academy and more Air Force air and space operations than any other location in the country.

Space Force, like Space Command, would leverage these resources and contribute to an efficient and centralized air and space geographic synergy.

“I say, first and foremost, Colorado is the home of our Air Force Space Command. If anything, I think it is a very healthy future for Colorado and our space community,” said Gen. David Goldfein, the Air Force’s top general, in a Feb. 23 Gazette news story by senior military editor Tom Roeder.

Goldfein, a graduate of the Air Force Academy, was in town to address the school’s National Character and Leadership Symposium. He explained to cadets how the Air Force controls 90 percent of the government’s space architecture.

Raymond’s new assignment puts the footings of a potential new Space Force firmly in Colorado. But our community should never get complacent and take for granted this or any other military operation that calls our city home.

The privilege of hosting military operations comes with great responsibility. We must always work to make the community a welcoming and supportive environment for the human and physical assets that keep our country safe, sovereign and free.

We welcome the return of Space Command. We will roll out a red carpet if the Pentagon creates Space Force and chooses to station it here, where it belongs, in the military-friendly Pikes Peak region.

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