The U.S. Space Force is currently headquartered in Colorado Springs, but a permanent location for its new headquarters is expected to be chosen next year - and Sterling Heights remains in the running.
On Monday, U.S. Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, Sterling Heights Mayor Michael C. Taylor and other officials met to discuss and unite in support of the city's bid for US Space Command.
"What we’re about today is putting this campaign into high gear to bring the U.S. Space Command headquarters to Michigan," said Mark Vanderpool, the Sterling Heights City Manager.
They say the city’s proximity to Selfridge Air National Guard Base makes it a strong contender, and that the region is world-renowned for innovation in the defense industry and possesses the industrial base, elite academic institutions, skilled workforce and strategic geographic location.
"I’m passionate about expanding the aerospace industry in the state of Michigan," Slotkin said. "We have the space for it; we have the air space for it."
Other cities in the running include St. Louis, Missouri, Dayton, Ohio and Phoenix, Arizona.
A Michigan delegation consisting of educators, congressional lawmakers and local leaders all believe Macomb County has what it takes to emerge as the leader and blast away the competition - and they’re hard at work to get that message to the Air Force.
"We have an incredible pool of engineers and technical workforce also within this region," said Paul Rogers, Adjutant General and Director of Military and Veterans Affairs. "We have 480-plus companies in the aerospace and defense market who are already supplying materials and equipment and technologies to our war-fighting mission."
The mission also has the support of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
"Gov. Whitmer immediately jumped on board and helped by reaching out to the Air Force by putting in a letter of endorsement," Rogers said.
And the Macomb County Executive believes that even if his county does not secure the spot, there’s still a win to achieve for the county.
"Even if we do fall short - and I hope we don't because we shouldn't - it once again pairs us and sets us up for other advantages in the future," CEO Mark Hackel said.
That’s because Hackel believes Macomb County is already a standout in not only what the Air Force needs but other industries as well.
"Defense, auto, manufacturing, and now into the healthcare, looking at what we have with cyber and IT - we have the ability to do things that, from concept to consumer, no one does it better than what we can do here in Macomb County," Hackel said.