Washington, DC - Today, in a letter to Air Force Secretary Michael Donley, United States Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet urged the Secretary to consider the many mission-related attributes of Peterson Air Force Base and the Pikes Peak region when selecting the final location for the headquarters of the 24th Air Force.
In their letter, the Senators asked Secretary Donley to consider a number of factors that make Peterson Air Force Base an ideal operating environment for the Air Force cyber mission, including the base's proximity to other cyber operational missions and the IT-rich environment offered by the Pikes Peak region.
The proposed locations for the 24th Air Force include Peterson AFB, Colo.; Barksdale Air Force Base, La.; Lackland AFB, Texas; Langley AFB, Va.; Offutt AFB, Neb.; and Scott AFB, Ill. The Air Force is expected to make a final base selection no later than the end of June 2009.
The Senators' letter to Secretary Donley is included below:
February 12, 2009
The Honorable Michael Donley
Secretary of the Air Force
1620 Air Force Pentagon
Washington D.C. 20330
Dear Secretary Donley:
We write today to ask that as you decide among the six finalists for the location of the 24th Air Force, you consider the many mission-related attributes and capabilities of Colorado Springs and Colorado's Front Range that make Peterson AFB the ideal choice for the numbered air force. First and foremost in any decision is the requirement for the effective and efficient accomplishment of the Air Force cyber mission - and we believe Peterson AFB and Colorado's many attributes offer clear operational rationale as the best location.
As the 24th Air Force will be placed under Air Force Space Command, we believe it should be located at one of the Air Force installations in Colorado - within close proximity to its major command to enable easier operations across the space and cyberspace domain.
In the Pikes Peak region, there are strong operational synergies with the missions of our military bases, the major command responsible for the Air Force cyber mission, U.S. Northern Command, and other organizations along the Front Range. In addition to Peterson AFB, Colorado Springs is home to NORAD, Schriever AFB and the 50th Space Wing, and the Air Force Academy. Nearby Buckley AFB in Aurora is a leader in the Air Force's space defense. These agencies provide a strong foundation for critical intelligence sharing and augment operational capabilities that will enhance the Air Force cyber mission. The available facility at Peterson AFB, a previous major headquarters building, also allows for minimum preparation prior to the stand-up of 24th Air Force.
The CNO Strategic Studies Group notes that a convergence of multiple disciplines, technologies, and global networks are needed to provide instantaneous communication through an IT-rich environment. Colorado and the Pikes Peak region offer such an environment to assure a seamless transition. The highly educated workforce, robust constellation of defense and aerospace industries, college and university system, and unparalleled quality of life in Colorado Springs provide a strong supporting backbone.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter. We believe the Pikes Peak region is the best choice for the 24th Air Force and look forward to providing you and your staff with the information needed to help you make your ultimate decision.
Mark Udall Michael Bennet
United States Senator United States Senator