TUCSON, Ariz. - Southern Arizona is looking towards space to land a lot of new jobs here. Our area is competing for the new headquarters for the Defense Department's Space Command.
The U.S. Space Command is not the same as the new Space Force. Space Command is an older part of the Department of Defense that involves all the uniformed services. A lot of Space Command’s work is secret. But some of it involves protecting our ability to use space for communications and GPS ---functions critical for military operations and our own daily lives.
Now, Space Command is looking for a new headquarters and there’s a team effort from The City of South Tucson, City of Tucson and Pima County to bring that headquarters here.
John Voorhees is an Assistant Pima County Administrator and Director of Aerospace and Defense Initiatives. He says, “They're proposing about 1600 jobs; not new jobs, a lot of them will be transfers from the existing interim headquarters in Colorado, but there probably will be some new jobs that have come to the headquarters here. And most of those jobs are going to be high end, so they're talking about an average salary or salary of around $100,000 a year.”
A lot of those jobs would be military transferring in and out but many would be civilian jobs that would stay in the community. The pool of well trained workers from Southern Arizona’s sophisticated tech industry is part of the sales pitch to bring the headquarters here.
The proposal foresees a building as large as 500,000 square feet in the growing tech zone near Raytheon.
Even if Space Command is not on the grounds of Davis-Monthan, it would help secure the future of the air base because Space Command wants to be able to tap the resources of a military base nearby.
Voorhees says Southern Arizona is competing with other areas that have a history in space.
“In Florida they've offered up Cape Canaveral and in Texas they've offered up, I believe it's the Spaceport Houston, as well as a site in San Antonio. We're certainly competing against the existing headquarters and Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. And I believe Vandenberg Air Force Base in California."
The Air Force could decide on a site as soon as January.