Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs was one of the finalists to become the home for the 24th Air Force, described by the service as "a new numbered Air Force headquarters focused on the cyber mission." But it'll have to settle for Miss Congeniality. Lackland Air Force Base in Texas has been chosen as the so-called "preferred alternative" pending an environmental impact study. A final decision is expected this summer.
Click "Continue" to read the Air Force's rationale.
Air Force press release:
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WASHINGTON -- The Air Force announced today that Lackland AFB, Texas, is the preferred alternative for the permanent location of 24th Air Force, a new numbered Air Force headquarters focused on the cyber mission.
Although Lackland has been identified as the preferred alternative, a final basing decision will not be made until the environmental process required under the National Environmental Policy Act is completed.
In October 2008, the Air Force announced the creation a Cyber-NAF under Air Force Space Command. The Air Force announced the six candidate bases for the NAF headquarters on January 21, 2009 and then began site surveys that teams completed on March 6. The six candidate bases were: Barksdale AFB, La.; Lackland AFB, Texas; Langley AFB, Va.; Offutt AFB, Neb.; Peterson AFB, Colo.; and Scott AFB, Ill.
"Site survey teams used previously approved criteria to gather information, assess capabilities, and refine initial data to thoroughly evaluate all candidate locations in accordance with our basing process," said Ms. Kathleen Ferguson, the Deputy Secretary of the Air Force for installations. "She added that these basing selections were made using a measured and deliberate process to ensure that the final decision is the best possible outcome for national defense and is in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act." This information was then evaluated during a Headquarters Air Force-level review to select the preferred alternative, she added.
In selecting a preferred alternative for the cyber mission, Air Force officials considered cyber NAF mission synergy (including proximity to other cyber operational missions and access to scientific and technical expertise) as well as communication and bandwidth capabilities. Other criteria evaluated included facilities and infrastructure, support capacity, security and transportation/access considerations.
Following the completion of the environmental impact analysis, the Air Force intends to make a final base selection this summer.