A new use for Ellington Field?

The Houston Chronicle reports that a number of US Congressmen (yep, they’re all men) from the Houston area have begun lobbying the Pentagon to move the United States’ Africa Command (AFRICOM) from Germany to Houston. One may think it is strange to have a military headquarters so far away from the actual place of operations, but it is definitely not unprecedented. The Command over Latin America is in Miami and, even more to the point, the Command of the Middle East is in Tampa.

This idea has been supported locally be Rep. Gene Green (D-Harris County) and Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Montgomery County), as well as Senator John Cornyn. Normally, this would not be all that much leverage against the Washington establishment. However, just recently, the equation has drastically changed. Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA) is the current Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and he recently announced his intention to retire. The Vice-Chairman of the committee is Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), meaning a Texan would likely take the helm of the committee if Republicans retain control of the House (which, you know, they will).

As the Chronicle article notes, over 4300 jobs could be added to the region with a $450M infusion into the economy. Needless to say, this would be a significant development for Houston and the surrounding areas.

Houston is in a great position to support this mission. We already have some of the key pieces to the puzzle, including an airport that can accommodate military aircraft. Houston certainly deserves a very serious look,” said the President of the Greater Houston Partnership. The words mirrored those of Senator Cornyn, who lobbied heavily in favor of this change.

As some might recall from September, the City Council has allocated nearly one million dollars to the purpose of studying the feasibility of turning Ellington Field into a spaceport. Either way, it is a better fate for the once bustling airstrip, that has sat dormant for most of my lifetime.

I have not found any other news articles that notes this Texas lobbying, but would think some articles might arise soon if the possibility of the move is actually legitimate.

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