Friday, September 29, 2023
New Mexico

Heinrich, Lujan: Kirtland preferred as home for new Space Force mission

STARCOM's Delta 11 expands KAFB defense ops


Kirtland Air Force Base in Southeast Albuquerque is on track to get a new mission with a very futuristic name New Mexico’s two United States Senators shared this week. Space Delta 11, a training mission of the new US Space Force, was designated to the base by the Defense Department pending completion of environmental impact reviews.


“Landing the Space Delta 11 mission at Kirtland Air Force Base is a big deal for New Mexico. It will bring hundreds of jobs into our state and grow the space and defense ecosystem that we’ve been investing in for years,” said Heinrich. “New Mexico has world-class public and private space innovators and an exceptional workforce training pipeline. We are the ideal place to build our military’s future in space, and this mission gives us a real foothold to do that.”


"While New Mexico has always been at the forefront of space exploration, the selection of STARCOM's Delta 11 to be based in New Mexico marks a significant milestone in our journey towards becoming a key hub for cutting-edge space technology," said Luján. "I'm thrilled to welcome Delta 11 and its advanced range and combat replication capabilities, which will not only enhance our national security but also provide unparalleled opportunities for local talent, job growth, and economic development. I look forward to the incredible possibilities that Delta 11 will bring to New Mexico."


Space Delta 11’s training mission is to deliver realistic, threat-informed test and training environments through the provision of live, virtual, and constructive range and combat replication capability in order to prepare U.S. Space Force, joint, and allied forces to prevail in a Contested, Degraded, and Operationally-Limited (CDO) environment, according to details provided by the offices of the senators.


The Defense Department must complete environmental impact analysis before finalizing the assignment, though the base is already home to a large Air Force training component and the US Department of Energy’s Sandia National Labs and weapons missions. Once operational, the new Space Force mission is projected to create 225 military and civilian jobs by FY2025.

Senator Heinrich has been a vocal advocate for expanding missions at New Mexico’s Air Force bases, including KAFB. He serves as chairman of the Military Construction (MILCON), Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Subcommittee, which oversees funding for new military construction.


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