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Space Command to be located in Alabama

Space Command to be located in Alabama
© Twitter/ULA

The new permanent headquarters of U.S. Space Command, responsible for America’s military space forces, will be located at Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal, Alabama lawmakers revealed Wednesday.

“I couldn’t be more pleased to learn that Alabama will be the new home to the United States Space Command!” Gov. Kay IveyKay IveyOvernight Health Care: UK coronavirus variant now most common strain in US | Over 500K sign up for ObamaCare in special period | EU finds 'possible link' between AstraZeneca vaccine, blood clots Alabama gov to let statewide mask mandate expire Friday Here's who's eligible for COVID-19 vaccines in each state MORE (R) said in a statement on Twitter.

Ivey said that an Air Force official, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Installations Bob Moriarity, called her earlier on Wednesday to notify her of the decision.

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“Our state has long provided exceptional support for our military and their families as well as a rich and storied history when it comes to space exploration. This combination only enhances the outstanding relationships we have with the 65 diverse federal agencies on Redstone Arsenal, not to mention the growing presence of the FBI and other federal installations,” Ivey added.

Established in December 2019, U.S. Space Command is the military's 11th unified combatant command. It is separate from the U.S. Space Force, which is responsible for organizing, training and equipping space forces. Space Command, meanwhile, employs forces from each of the military services to carry out directed missions in the space domain, according to the Pentagon.

The command’s predecessor, Air Force Space Command, was headquartered at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, a location seen as a front-runner in the competition.

Chosen after a two-year competition, Huntsville beat out 26 other locations vying to host the headquarters, including five other finalists: Peterson Air Force Base; Brevard County, Fla.; Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.; Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.; and Port San Antonio, Texas.

Lawmakers had pitched the Air Force heavily on cities within their states, as the new headquarters will bring with it roughly 1,400 positions.

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Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee Chairman Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbySenate GOP to face off over earmarks next week Senate GOP opens door to earmarks Five takeaways from Biden's first budget proposal MORE (R-Ala.) also announced the selection, which would move the command from its temporary headquarters in Peterson Air Force Base to his home state.

“This is outstanding news, not only for our state but also for the Air Force,” Shelby said in a statement. “Huntsville is the right pick for a host of reasons – our skilled workforce, proximity to supporting space entities, cost-effectiveness, and quality of life, among other things.”

But the decision also drew negative reactions, including from Sen. Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichDemocrats battle over best path for Puerto Rico Intelligence leaders warn of threats from China, domestic terrorism Top academics slam Puerto Rico Self-Determination Act MORE (D-N.M.), who called the choice rushed ahead of an administration changeover. 

“To rush such a large and consequential basing decision, mere days before the end of the Trump administration, should rightly lead to serious questions of political impropriety," Heinrich said in a statement. 

He added that the Air Force evaluation team in the competition postponed an original site visit to Albuquerque in December 2019 and collected data on the city's candidacy less than a week ago. 

"I don’t see how it is possible to properly evaluate one of the Air Force’s final candidates in less than a week and come to a decision on something so important. I have asked the incoming Biden administration to take a close look at this process and review the merits of this decision," said the Senate Armed Services Committee member.