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Lawmakers launch defense of Alabama as SPACECOM HQ

While the two-year-old tale of moving the U.S. Space Command to Alabama continues to take twists and turns, U.S. Rep. Dale Strong is among the voices calling for a final decision.

“I am hopeful that the Secretary of the Air Force will announce a final basing decision soon,” the Huntsville congressman said today.

The latest twist came Thursday night when a writer for The Washington Post reported the Biden administration may be reconsidering President Trump’s decision to relocate Space Command, which is in Colorado, to Huntsville.

The Post said the Biden administration is citing national security as the reason for the possible reversal.

According to the story, “(The White House) fears the transfer would disrupt operations at a time when space is increasingly important to the military.” The Post cited an unnamed White House official as the source of information.

The official told the reporter this week, “We share the concerns of some military leaders about potential disruption of space operations at a critical moment for our national security.”

Meanwhile, Alabama’s two senators, the mayor of Huntsville and Strong came out to shoot down the story and defend the original decision of moving the command to Huntsville.

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn) released a statement today reiterating the fact that Redstone Arsenal has been proven to be the top-ranked location for SPACECOM.

“The U.S. Air Force’s thorough selection process and decision to put SPACECOM headquarters in Alabama was based on evidence of what’s best for the military and the country,” he said. “The Air Force selected Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama over 65 other locations, including Colorado. Members of Congress from Colorado requested two additional studies when they didn’t get their way. Both of those studies confirmed that Huntsville was the number one location for SPACECOM — based on things like workforce, existing infrastructure, education, and cost of living. Colorado did not make the top three. The best place for Space Command is in Huntsville. This is not my opinion, this is fact.

“Reports that the Air Force’s selection process was political or contrary to the advice of Pentagon officials are not supported by fact. President Biden’s own administration has repeatedly confirmed the selection of Huntsville as “strategic” and an “analytically based process.”

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle weighed in on the matter.

“The results of an exhaustive, objective, data-driven study, twice performed, show that Huntsville, Alabama, is the best location for Space Command headquarters. That recommendation was examined in two thorough reports – from the Government Accountability Office and Department of Defense Inspector General – finding the DoD’s study was conducted properly, each time resulting in Huntsville being named as the best spot for USSPACECOM,” said Battle.

“We look forward to Space Command being headquartered where it belongs, the Rocket City.”

Strong, a member of the House Armed Services Committee and Strategic Forces Subcommittee, backed the original decision with the Department of Defense inspector general and General Accounting Office.

“The indisputable facts of this situation are: The Air Force led a robust basing process which complied with federal law, and the DoD IG and GAO confirmed the original decision,” said Strong, whose district includes Redstone Arsenal. “Redstone Arsenal was consistently the top choice to host Space Command headquarters and Colorado wasn’t in the top three.

“The decision of where Space Command is located should remain in the hands of the Air Force and should not be politicized.”

U.S. Sen. Katie Britt (R-Montgomery), the ranking member of the Homeland Security Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, released a statement reiterating that Redstone Arsenal continues to be the best permanent location for the headquarters to advance America’s vital national security interests.

“Locating the permanent Space Command Headquarters on Redstone Arsenal undoubtedly remains in the best national security interest of the United States,” said Britt.

“Huntsville finished first in both the Air Force’s Evaluation Phase and Selection Phase, leaving no doubt that the Air Force’s decision to choose Redstone as the preferred basing location was correct purely on the merits. That decision should remain in the Air Force’s hands and should not be politicized. Selecting a fifth-place finisher would obviously prioritize partisan political considerations at the expense of our national security, military modernization, and force readiness. Alabama’s world-class aerospace and defense workforce, capabilities, and synergies stand ready to fulfill the mission and strengthen our national security long into the future.”

If SPACECOM were to move to Huntsville it would bring around 1,800 employees and their families to the area.

Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.

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