The entire New Mexico congressional delegation is lobbying to have the newly-created federal Space Development Agency put down roots in the Land of Enchantment.
That agency, operating as a separate entity under the umbrella of the Department of Defense, would be tasked with overall policy and program development, as well as the execution of next-generation military space capabilities.
Patrick Shanahan, acting secretary of defense, has explained in a Defense Department memo that the agency would also would be responsible for building a “national space architecture that provides the persistent, resilient, global, low-latency surveillance needed to deter or, if deterrence fails, defeat adversary action.”
The Department of Defense wants $149 million in the fiscal year 2020 federal budget to get the agency going.
But where exactly the agency will ultimately be housed remains an open question.
New Mexico Senators Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall, along with Representatives Deb Haaland, Ben Ray Lujan, and Xochitl Torres Small, have jointly signed a letter to the Defense Department stating that New Mexico is “already home to many of the nation’s core space assets and has a significant space R & D community.”
The letter additionally notes the existence of the Space Rapid Capabilities Office at the Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, as well as the sprawling Spaceport America facility just outside of Truth or Consequences.
Competition for securing the Space Development Agency base is expected to be waged by several other states, including Alabama, which is the home to the Huntsville-based U.S. Space & Rocket Center.
By Garry Boulard
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