WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representative Salud Carbajal (both D-Calif.) sent a letter on Dec. 9 to the secretary of the Air Force asking for clarification on the selection process for the future location of Space Command headquarters. The process ultimately excluded Vandenberg Air Force Base from the list of finalists after initially including it as one of three finalists.

“As we highlighted in our August 2020 letter to you, we continue to believe that Vandenberg’s existing space-related missions and assets, along with its proximity to the Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base, would offer Space Command unique and unparalleled advantages. As the West Coast defense and commercial space launch site, Vandenberg already offers a highly-qualified workforce for aerospace engineering, and the local community is eager to welcome Space Command to the area,” wrote Feinstein and Carbajal.

“[W]e respectfully request that you provide us with specific information about Vandenberg’s scores in each of the evaluation factors and their criteria, including relative to other bases. We also request that you provide precise details about how the evaluation factors and criteria changed between the selection processes in 2019 and 2020.”

The full text of the letter is available below.

Dear Secretary Barrett:

We write today to express our disappointment that Vandenberg Air Force Base was not selected as the permanent location of U.S. Space Command Headquarters. We ask that you provide additional information related to the evaluation metrics used to determine the finalists. 

As we highlighted in our August 2020 letter to you, we continue to believe that Vandenberg’s existing space-related missions and assets, along with its proximity to the Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base, would offer Space Command unique and unparalleled advantages. As the West Coast defense and commercial space launch site, Vandenberg already offers a highly-qualified workforce for aerospace engineering, and the local community is eager to welcome Space Command to the area. Further, Vandenberg supports space situational awareness through the Combined Space Operations Center and serves a critical role in homeland defense through its Missile Defense Agency capabilities.

In 2019, the Air Force selected Vandenberg as one of three finalist locations, in addition to sites in Alabama and Colorado. We understand that the governors of Texas and Florida protested the Air Force’s decision because they claimed the selection process was unfair, prompting a new evaluation this year of bases nationwide. During that process, Vandenberg was cut from the list of six finalist locations; but sites in Alabama and Colorado remain in contention while bases in Texas and Florida were added to the list, as well as bases in New Mexico and Nebraska.

Given this shift in the Air Force’s evaluation and selection process for Space Command Headquarters, we respectfully request that you provide us with specific information about Vandenberg’s scores in each of the evaluation factors and their criteria, including relative to other bases. We also request that you provide precise details about how the evaluation factors and criteria changed between the selection processes in 2019 and 2020. We appreciate your attention to this request and look forward to hearing from you soon.

Getting through this together, Paso Robles