Heinrich, Luján, Stansbury Welcome Space Mission Candidacy Announcements For Kirtland Air Force Base

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representative Melanie Stansbury (D-N.M.) are welcoming an announcement from the U.S. Air Force that Kirtland Air Force Base (AFB) has been selected as a candidate location for two components of U.S. Space Force’s (USSF) Space and Training Readiness Command Headquarters (STARCOM).

New Mexico Congressional Democrats have a long-standing history of supporting all of the core military space assets, missions, and organizations currently based in New Mexico.

“New Mexico is the future of space. We are home to an ideal climate, leading public and private space innovators, and an exceptional training pipeline for the growing science and engineering workforce. Kirtland Air Force Base has also built an exceptional track record of supporting training missions and testing and evaluation of important space capabilities. I have full confidence that Space Force leadership will determine that this is the ideal location for these STARCOM missions,” said Heinrich, Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee that oversees Military Construction funding.

"I welcome the news that Kirtland is under consideration for two Space Force field units focused on test and evaluation," said Luján. "Kirtland Air Force Base carries a long history of space technology expertise that our military needs to stay ahead of emerging threats."

“We’re excited that the U.S. Space Force has recognized Kirtland Air Force Base as a leading candidate for the STARCOM Delta,” said Stansbury. “New Mexico is at the forefront of science, research, technology, and security and Albuquerque’s endless skies, access to the outdoors, and amazing communities offer a welcoming home to STARCOM, which would bring additional economic development to a community well-positioned to further support the Space Force’s work. I look forward to supporting Kirtland Air Force Base as the Space Force continues the selection process.”

STARCOM’s organizational structure includes five space deltas to execute its mission. Kirtland AFB is a candidate location for the following locations due to its existing range infrastructure that supports test, training, and exercise activities within close distance to range and aggressor stakeholders:

Delta 11 – Range and Aggressor – delivers realistic, threat-informed test and training environments through the provision of live, virtual, and constructive range and combat replication capability.

Delta 12 – Test and Evaluation – will prepare USSF forces to prevail in a contested, degraded, and operationally-limited environment through the independent test and evaluation of USSF capabilities and delivery of timely, accurate, and expert information in support of weapon system acquisition, operational acceptance, and readiness decisions.

STARCOM, one of three U.S. Space Force field commands, is responsible for the deliberate development, education and training of space professionals; development of space warfighting doctrine, tactics, techniques, and procedures; and the operational test and evaluation of USSF systems.