Even as the COVID-19 battered the Colorado Springs economy, costing tens of thousands of jobs, the defense contracting industry stayed strong.
Why? Thank U.S. Space Command and the new Space Force, at least in part. The arrival of the joint command, the creation of the new military branch and a greater emphasis on space have triggered a major wave of growth for local defense contractors.
Industry officials say the defense industry is thriving in Colorado Springs, where more than a third of the local economy depends on military spending, because the U.S. Space Command is based at Peterson Air Force Base, at least temporarily, and much of the operations of the new Space Force also are spread across area bases.
“The opportunity (from U.S. Space Force and U.S. Space Command) is on par with when NorthCom (U.S. Northern Command) was stood up almost 20 years ago,” said David Fuino, who directs the multi-domain battle management program at Raytheon Technologies and is the company’s top executive in Colorado Springs. “While the powers that be will make the decision on the ultimate home for U.S. Space Command, everything points to a lot of business being done here in the next five years. There will be more than 1,000 government personnel and all the contracting activity goes well beyond that.”
Reggie Ash, chief defense development officer for the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC, said the U.S. Space Command headquarters brings more than 1,400 additional troops to the area and also huge contracting opportunities. He said a combined command, meaning one than spans all military services, will “result in significant growth in the surrounding community, which is what we saw