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When you look at the facts, the answer is clear: U.S. Space Command must stay in Colorado. It’s not just because of our incredible quality of life, or the fact that our education system and workforce are uniquely trained to carry out this mission and launch it to the next level, or even that our aerospace industry is one of the largest and most innovative in the country. But it’s that all of these things together make up an ecosystem that is undeniably suited to guarantee the operational success of U.S. Space Command for generations to come.

Colorado is the epicenter of national security space, and we have spent decades cultivating the ideal environment for the mission, and the people who support it, to thrive.

We’re proud to have one of the most highly educated and innovative work forces that are building the future of space today. Our institutions of higher learning have created a direct pipeline of trained students who are ready to hit the ground running at leading aerospace companies. We are also home to world class research institutions such as the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado Boulder, Colorado State’s University Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. These institutions help produce critical synergies with civil and commercial space that directly benefit the mission of U.S. Space Command.

This is why Colorado is at the center of innovation, not just in aerospace, but across advanced industries including technology and information, advanced manufacturing, electronics, cybersecurity, bioscience, infrastructure engineering and more.

It’s also why we have one of the top economies in the country. While the global pandemic has impacted the world, industries like aerospace are key in helping Colorado recover even stronger than before.

Over 30,000 Coloradans are directly employed by aerospace companies and an additional 200,000 fill jobs that support the aerospace industry. These workers are employed by more than 280 aerospace companies, and of those companies, nearly 64% are small businesses with 10 or fewer employees. And an additional 500 Colorado companies provide space-related products and services. It’s no wonder why the industry has grown nearly 20% in the last five years.

As the Air Force considers the best permanent location for U.S. Space Command, it’s important that they consider readily available assets and existing capabilities. Colorado is at the center of the nascent U.S. Space Force, serving as the proud home of eight out of the nine USSF Deltas, as well as the USSF Space Operations Center. This means we aren’t just talking about why Colorado is the best location for Space Command, we’re proving it every day. While U.S. Space Command is at Peterson Air Force Base, it greatly benefits from its close proximity to the multiple military installations in and around Colorado Springs, including Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora. It would cost billions of dollars to recreate this ecosystem anywhere else.

In addition to all the assets and capabilities that Colorado offers the mission, we’re also a top destination for individuals and families looking for a new home, including military members, their families, and space professionals. According to U.S. News & World Report, Colorado is home to four of the five best places to live in the United States, including Colorado Springs. Colorado has the amenities that will both attract and retain a highly educated, productive military space operations workforce.

The Polis-Primavera administration knows that Colorado Springs is the only home for Space Command, and we’re not the only ones. Statewide, leaders from all levels of government, as well as business and community leaders from across the spectrum have stood up to make their voices heard. This isn’t a hypothetical scenario, Space Command is here now, and we believe it should stay that way. We are the past, present, and future of the mission!

Jared Polis is Colorado’s governor, and Dianne Primavera is lieutenant governor.

This content was originally published here.