As the sixth and newest branch of our nation’s military sets out to master the final frontier, it is my belief that Alaska, the Last Frontier, is the clear choice to base this historic mission. Alongside Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, I have submitted a joint request to station U.S. Space Command here in our nation’s 49th state.
In 1935, Gen. Billy Mitchell, father of the U.S. Air Force, called Alaska the “most important strategic place in the world.” From World War II, in which Alaska was the only place in North America to be invaded, to the depths of the Cold War, where Arctic radar outposts protected against Soviet missile launches, the truth of Mitchell’s claim has been well established.
Anchorage, home to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, is perfectly positioned to carry on this legacy. In addition, our state-of-the-art Pacific Spaceport Complex provides military launch capabilities just a short distance from Anchorage. The facility, run by the publicly owned Alaska Aerospace Corporation, has conducted successful space launches since 1998 and is quickly expanding to accommodate the current commercial space boom.
But Mitchell’s assertion extended beyond the realm of national security. Today, Anchorage serves as North America’s gateway to Asia-Pacific trade. Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, which briefly held the title of “world’s busiest” airport earlier this year, lies within nine hours of 90% of the industrialized world. With a deep-water port that continues to grow in significance as Bering Sea ice recedes, the commercial importance of Anchorage will only increase in the years ahead. (Read more from “The Last (And Final) Frontier: Why the Space Force Belongs in Alaska” HERE)