KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A low-profile effort, with exceedingly high stakes, to build a new headquarters for the U.S. Space Command in Missouri has survived the first round of cuts.
According to multiple sources familiar with the situation, the Missouri push for the military headquarters could put the new command station in either Kansas City, St. Joseph or St. Louis.
The Missouri cities are now among similar communities in 27 states vying for the lucrative prospect of serving as home base for the estimated 1,400 military and civilian personnel who will work at the U.S. Space Command.
According to a recent weekly update from the Missouri Military Preparedness and Enhancement Commission, the Air Force has requested more detailed proposals from Kansas City, St. Joseph and St. Louis. The deadline is Aug. 31.
A decision isn’t expected until after the November election.
The newly created U.S. Space Force and the Space Command aren’t exactly the same thing. Space Command will oversee the Space Force and potentially other branches of the military in its mission to defend American interests in space.
The Kansas City Area Development Council and the St. Louis Development Corporation are working on Missouri’s application for the combatant command. Representatives from both organizations declined to comment Thursday.
According to a letter from John Henderson, assistant secretary of the Air Force, there are three criteria for the applications from cities.
The letter reads, “locations that have a population base that is within the top 150 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas in the U.S., located with 25 miles of a military base, and have a Livability Index Score of 50 points out of 100 or higher as determined by the AARP.”
Kansas City has a score of 52 on the AARP index, St. Louis is 54 and St. Joseph is 63.
Florida, Alabama and Colorado are considered the frontrunners to win the lucrative Space Command sweepstakes.
Colorado Springs, Colorado, remains the location for the provisional headquarters for U.S. Space Command until a permanent headquarters location is selected and facilities are ready in approximately six years.