Governor’s Military Council Executive Director Lt. Gen. Perry Wiggins (official photo)

Kansas officials may be reaching for the stars, but remain hopeful that the U.S. Space Command will choose the Sunflower State for the relocation of its headquarters over others in the 26 states selected.

The Air Force said it expects to select a location in early 2021 but it will take up to six years to construct new facilities. The provisional headquarters will remain in operation at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado until that happens.

Executive Director of the Governor’s Military Council Lt. Gen. Perry Wiggins says the Wichita area and the Leavenworth-Kansas City region are among the Kansas locations on the short list.

“A lot of people think Kansas and they think agriculture, but Kansas has a great aerospace industry as well. It’s got a huge innovation, incubation process that goes on. One place of note could be down in Wichita at NIAR (National Institute for Aviation Research) which Wichita State University operates,” he said.

Wiggins says some people have approached him saying the fact that Kansas would pursue such an endeavor is ridiculous, a point with which he disagrees.

“When I drive down I-70 for example, you can’t throw a dead cat without hitting a sign that says ‘home to an astronaut X, Y or Z’ as you go down the interstate,” he said. “There’s a bunch of young Kansans that believe in our saying ‘reach for the stars’ and who’s to say there is not an opportunity for somebody from Manhattan to be an astronaut?”

Wiggins says if it were brought to Kansas, it would mean a major military command coming to the state, which would bring with it jobs and economic growth.

“This is a unified, 4-star level command. That headquarters will have 1,400 personnel that work within it. Those individuals are senior ranking, both at the government service level and at the military level,” he said.

Wiggins admits it’s probably a long shot that Kansas lands such an operation. He says the process has allowed the state to prepare for future nomination projects so that the state can put its best foot forward.

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