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Colorado delegation wants Biden to stop Space Command move to Alabama

Colorado delegation wants Biden to stop Space Command move to Alabama
© Bonnie Cash

Colorado lawmakers want President Biden to take another look at the Trump administration’s “last-minute” decision earlier this month to move the new U.S. Space Command headquarters from Colorado Springs to Huntsville, Ala.

The state’s entire congressional delegation argues that “significant evidence exists that the process was neither fair nor impartial and that President TrumpDonald TrumpGuardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa wins GOP primary in NYC mayor's race Garland dismisses broad review of politicization of DOJ under Trump Schumer vows next steps after 'ridiculous,' 'awful' GOP election bill filibuster MORE’s political considerations influenced the final decision,” according to a letter sent to Biden on Tuesday.

The letter, organized by Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetDemocrats make full-court press on expanded child tax credit Congress needs to fix the broken market for antibiotic development Schumer vows to only pass infrastructure package that is 'a strong, bold climate bill' MORE (D-Colo.), also requests that the new administration “suspend any actions to relocate the headquarters until you complete the review.”

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The move “undermines our ability to respond to the threats in space and is disruptive to the current mission” as it “will uproot the servicemembers and civilians currently conducting the mission in Colorado and remove them from the nexus of military and intelligence space operations,” the lawmakers argue. 

The Air Force on Jan. 13 announced the new permanent headquarters of U.S. Space Command, responsible for America’s military space forces, would be located at Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal.

Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado is the current provisional headquarters of the command until 2026.

Huntsville beat out 26 other locations after a two-year competition, 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. 

Alabama lawmakers lauded the decision, made under the previous administration, though lawmakers from other states vying for the headquarters called the choice premature and rushed.

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“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,” Bennet and Sen. John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperCentrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting Centrists gain leverage over progressives in Senate infrastructure battle The Hill's Morning Report - After high-stakes Biden-Putin summit, what now? MORE (D-Colo.) said in a statement at the time. 

In the letter, the lawmakers complain that the Air Force’s selection process lacked transparency in the data used to determine the best location for accommodating the command’s personnel and their families.

“This prevented clear, public evaluation of the scoring criteria,” they write. The gap in information raises concerns “about how the previous Administration rendered the final decision.” 

Re-established in December 2019 after a 17-year hiatus, U.S. Space Command employs forces from each of the military services to carry out directed missions in the space domain. It is separate from the U.S. Space Force, which is responsible for organizing, training and equipping space forces.

The command’s original headquarters was at Peterson Air Force Base from 1985 to 2002.