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Alabama, not Colorado, selected as new home of U.S. Space Command

Published: Jan. 13, 2021 at 11:36 AM MST
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Colorado lawmakers are lambasting a decision to move the U.S. Space Command from Colorado Springs to Alabama.

The U.S. Air Force announced Wednesday that Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama is the preferred location for the new headquarters over Peterson Air Force Base, which has housed the command since its original inception from 1985-2002. Peterson again became the headquarters following Space Command’s reestablishment in 2019.

Colorado’s governor and lieutenant governor, both Democrats, and Congressman Doug Lamborn, a Republican, all called the move politically-motivated, with Lamborn going so far as to call the decision “horrendous.” In a letter to President-elect Joe Biden obtained by 11 News, Lamborn called on Biden to reverse the “foolish and hastily-made decision” immediately upon taking office.

The Air Force acknowledged the move was not a 100 percent done deal, with a final decision coming in 2023. Their full statement on the decision:

“The Department of the Air Force conducted both virtual and on-site visits to assess which of six candidate locations would be best suited to host the U.S. Space Command Headquarters based on factors related to mission, infrastructure capacity, community support and costs to the Department of Defense.

“Huntsville compared favorably across more of these factors than any other community, providing a large, qualified workforce, quality schools, superior infrastructure capacity, and low initial and recurring costs. Additionally, Redstone Arsenal offered a facility to support the headquarters, at no cost, while the permanent facility is being constructed.

“Albuquerque, New Mexico; Bellevue, Nebraska; Cape Canaveral, Florida; Colorado Springs, Colorado; and San Antonio, Texas, will remain reasonable alternative locations for the U.S. Space Command Headquarters.

“The preferred and reasonable alternative locations were chosen from amongst twenty-four states that were evaluated as potential locations for hosting the headquarters.

“The Department of the Air Force anticipates making a final decision for the location of U.S. Space Command Headquarters in spring 2023, pending the results from the required environmental impact analysis.”

The Air Force says Colorado Springs will remain the provisional headquarters until the permanent location is ready to support the mission.

According to a report by our news partners at The Gazette, the sudden decision may have been at President Donald Trump’s behest. From The Gazette’s report:

“The decision came after Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett traveled to the White House this week to tell Trump the military had chosen Colorado Springs after a new presidentially ordered process that tossed out an earlier decision to keep the command, its 1,400 airmen and thousands of civilian workers here.

“Trump, officers familiar with the briefing said, instead ordered the command to head to Alabama, a state that includes six lawmakers who objected to the election results last week and delivered Trump a Senate win, with Republican Tommy Tuberville unseating Democrat Doug Jones.”

Gov. Jared Polis and Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera released the following statement:

“Colorado’s proud military heritage, unparalleled aerospace ecosystem, and unmatched quality of life for our service members and their families make us the epicenter of national security space and the only permanent home for U.S. Space Command. Reports that the in-depth military process found Colorado Springs to be the best location for military readiness and cost and recommended Colorado to the President only to be overruled for politically motivated reasons are deeply concerning. This move threatens jobs, could cause serious economic damage, and upend the lives of hundreds of military and civilian families that were counting on U.S Space Command staying at home in Colorado Springs as well as harm military readiness. It would negatively impact the mission which Colorado Springs has been flawlessly executing, ensuring our national security in the space domain. This misguided decision would cost American taxpayers potentially billions of dollars and would be fiscally irresponsible if it is allowed to stand. We pledge to work with our federal delegation to restore integrity to the process as it unfolds. The work of so many partners in Colorado Springs and across the state has been critical to the shared effort to keep U.S. Space Command in Colorado, and we are grateful for their partnership.”

Lamborn’s statement:

“I am disappointed by the horrendous decision to rip U.S. Space Command out of its home in Colorado Springs and move it to a new location. There’s no way around it: relocating SPACECOM will materially damage our national security. As we speak, our near-peer adversaries, Russia and China, are actively working to defeat our space capabilities. Moving a critical institution like Space Command for political reasons unrelated to national security would be foolish at the best of times. In the midst of the ongoing great power competition between the U.S. and our allies against the forces of tyranny and absolutism represented by the Chinese Communist Party and Vladimir Putin, arbitrarily shuffling SPACECOM around like a political trophy would prove disastrous. This decision was not based on what is best for America’s national interests. For the good of our of nation, I will fight this proposed move. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and Senate who I believe will be equally disturbed with this disruption to a critical national security mission.”

Sen. Michael Bennet and Sen. John Hickenlooper provided a join statement:

“We are deeply disappointed the Trump Administration is trying to move Space Command from Colorado to Alabama. We do not believe this decision reflects the best choice, or even a rational choice, for our national security and ability to confront threats in space. We are concerned by rumors that the Trump White House influenced this decision for political reasons.

In the spring of 2019, the Air Force named six finalists for the permanent home of Space Command––four of them in Colorado. For reasons that were never clear, in the spring of 2020, the Air Force announced a subsequent process that eventually resulted in six new finalists, this time including only one in Colorado. And now, just as President Trump is leaving office, Colorado was not selected despite reports that it was the Air Force’s top choice. We will work closely with the Colorado delegation to ensure the Biden Administration reviews this purported decision. We believe a process based on the merits will keep Space Command in Colorado. There is no role for politics when it comes to our national security.”

Following the selection of the six finalist communities in Colorado, New Mexico, Alabama, Texas, Florida, and Nebraska, the Air Force announced that they would conduct an in-person visit to each of the sites and a virtual visit with the community. During the Air Force’s visit to Colorado Springs in December, Governor Jared Polis, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, and other community leaders presented the case for why Colorado Springs is the best and only home for U.S. Space Command. Peterson Air Force Base (AFB) is the current provisional headquarters of U.S. Space Command and will be until 2026.”

Secretary of the Air Force Statement:

“The Secretary of the Air Force, on behalf of the Office of Secretary of Defense, selected Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Alabama, as the preferred location for the U.S. Space Command Headquarters.

The Department of the Air Force conducted both virtual and on-site visits to assess which of six candidate locations would be best suited to host the U.S. Space Command Headquarters based on factors related to mission, infrastructure capacity, community support and costs to the Department of Defense.

Huntsville compared favorably across more of these factors than any other community, providing a large, qualified workforce, quality schools, superior infrastructure capacity, and low initial and recurring costs. Additionally, Redstone Arsenal offered a facility to support the headquarters, at no cost, while the permanent facility is being constructed.

Albuquerque, New Mexico; Bellevue, Nebraska; Cape Canaveral, Florida; Colorado Springs, Colorado; and San Antonio, Texas, will remain reasonable alternative locations for the U.S. Space Command Headquarters.

The preferred and reasonable alternative locations were chosen from amongst twenty-four states that were evaluated as potential locations for hosting the headquarters.

The Department of the Air Force anticipates making a final decision for the location of U.S. Space Command Headquarters in spring 2023, pending the results from the required environmental impact analysis.

Colorado Springs, Colorado, remains the provisional headquarters until the permanent location is ready to support the mission.”

The letter from Lamborn can be seen below:

NAME OF PHOTO GOES HERE

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