Letter to Hon. Barbara M. Barrett, United States Air Force Secretary - Urging U.S. Air Force Secretary to Designate San Antonio as U.S. Space Command Headquarters
Dear Secretary Barrett,
We write in support of Port San Antonio, a rapidly expanding technology and innovation complex, and Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA) as the future basing location for the U.S. Space Command headquarters. Better known as Military City USA, San Antonio has a long and distinguished record of support for our nation's armed forces as well as their family members and veterans. With San Antonio's outstanding defense and aerospace industry, low cost of living, and access to some of the best higher education in the country, it is easy to see why this is the nation's second fastest growing city in 2019.
Similarly, the rapid growth over the last two decades at Port San Antonio has produced a robust industrial base with over 13,000 employees among more than 80 public and private companies specializing in aerospace, defense, robotics, cybersecurity, logistics, and other high-tech industries. Just five miles north of this technology campus is the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) which compliments Port San Antonio's capabilities with innovative space research and design. SwRI and nearly two dozen other companies and universities in the area have secured more than 200 NASA contracts over the last five years to support the nation's space exploration, travel, and launch endeavors. Additionally, Port San Antonio and the historic Kelly Field, one of the birthplaces of military aviation and host of the longest runway in the region, facilitate comprehensive logistical solutions for the nation including a new operation for mass distribution of personal protective equipment to military and civilian medical facilities across the nation.
It should be no surprise that the state of Texas and many of its cities consistently rank among the top places to live in the U.S. With no state income tax, affordable real estate, and exceptional education ranging from elementary through post-graduate schools, San Antonio will provide the men and women of U.S. Space Command as well as their families a high quality of life with low cost of living. In 2019, military spouses with professional licenses from another state were granted reciprocity for licensure in Texas alleviating one of the more significant burdens that accompany military families as they move to the state. Similarly, the state of Texas emphasizes quality education through a variety of programs and benefits including early childhood education, pre-kindergarten, and early registration for military children. Military members also have several child development center facilities available for use at both Port San Antonio/Kelly Field as well as at the neighboring Lackland AFB.
The local governments of Bexar County and San Antonio also have a great relationship with JBSA and work closely with JBSA leadership to ensure the community is able to support the military members, their families, and local veterans. Bexar County Military and Veterans Services Center assists service members transitioning from the military to civilian life through employment and benefit advice and counseling services. Working in tandem with Bexar County, the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Council works directly with military leaders in the region to ensure the service members at JBSA are adequately supported by the community as well as recognized and celebrated for the sacrifices they have made and the honor they have earned.
Beyond all this, it is important to highlight that the support service members and their families receive in Texas is not unique to a political party. Statewide, Texas legislators from all parties and chambers are unparalleled in their support and advocacy for the military. There is no state in the union that can compare with the tenacity of Texas legislators and our broad, bipartisan, and bicameral delegation as we fight to support the men and women of the military. We are excited to continue in that support and look forward to extending it to the service members and families of U.S. Space Command, right here in Military City USA.