SCHRIEVER SPACE FORCE BASE — Colorado Senator Michael Bennet and Virginia Senator Mark Warner met with military and intelligence leaders at Schriever Space Force Base Friday. Both serve on the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence with Warner as chair.
The senators got to see firsthand the capabilities of the men and women who work at the National Space Defense Center. They told reporters after that visit that the war in Ukraine has highlighted the urgency for the US to maintain a position of leadership in space.
"We've seen a remarkable job done by the American intelligence community including some of these assets here to predict the extent of Putin's invasion, timing it almost to the day," Senator Warner said.
The specialists who work at the NSDC come from a variety of backgrounds; some are military, others from the Intelligence Community, and others work in either civilian or commercial space operations. They all share the goal of helping America's allies during this war.
"It's the ability to collect and report in real-time, intelligence in a way that it can be used by people that are confronting Vladimir Putin," Senator Bennet explained.
Both senators expressed their support for keeping US Space Command in Colorado Springs.
"Space Command should stay here in Colorado, doesn't need to move anywhere else," Senator Warner said.
They also shared concerns that the cooperation between all of these partners could be disrupted by moving headquarters to Alabama. Senator Bennet said he has voiced these concerns with President Biden many times, most recently while onboard Air Force One as the president visited Boulder County in the aftermath of the Marshall and Middle Fork fires.
"We should be spending the money in space, not spending the money moving Space Command to someplace that it doesn't need to be," Bennet said.
Warfare in the 21st Century isn't limited to ground troops and air support. The senators believe America must be protected in both Space and Cyberspace.
"We've got all of our cyber defenses kind of shields-up at this point, but if we see the Russians use some of their better cyber-assets chances are they will break through," Warner warned.
Peterson Air Force Base was named as the provisional home for US Space Command through 2026. Red Stone Arsenal in Alabama was announced as the permanent home for the command in January of 2021 in a move that many in Colorado and Washington DC saw as politically motivated.
Two federal oversight agencies, the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Defense, and the Government Accountability Office are currently reviewing how the US Air Force handled that basing decision. The senators told reporters Friday they expected to hear back from those agencies soon.
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