Focus on space gives Colorado National Guard recruitment boost

DENVER -- If space is the final frontier, Colorado’s National Guard is trying to put itself in a position to be at the front line to defend it.

“We’re talking more and more about space nationally, and that space is a contested domain, I think more and more people get interested in it,” said Maj. Gen. Michael Loh with the Colorado National Guard.

Loh, who also serves as the executive director of Colorado’s Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, was joined by hundreds of high-ranking U.S. Armed Forces officers for the National Guard Association of the United States 141st General Conference and Exhibition at the Colorado Convention Center.

With the announcement of Space Command headquarters coming to Colorado Springs and the anticipation of a newly formed Space Force next year, National Guard leaders believe Colorado will play an ever greater role in America’s investment in space.

“Military and civilian, we’re number one in the nation,” said Loh. “I don’t see that going away.”

The Colorado National Guard is already doing a lot of work in the space sector, from assisting with large wildfires by providing maps of hot spots and burns cars, to protecting American GPS technology, which is in everything from the apps on smartphones to checkout machines at grocery stores.

“These units help ensure that we get some of those things that we get from space that we’re used to day in and day out,” said Brig. Gen. Patrick Cobb.

“We’re in competition, and if you’re enjoying the freedoms that you have today, it’s because the military is out there doing their job,” said Loh.

The focus on space has also greatly helped the Colorado National Guard with recruitment. Eighteen months ago, Loh said the 138th Space Control Squadron had little interest, but today, they’ve filled 75 of 100 positions, with more applications than openings.

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