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Rogers: ‘Taxpayer-funded manipulation’ in Space Command delay

Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Rep. Mike Rogers accused Pentagon officials in charge of the decision to finalize a permanent home for U.S. Space Command with “deliberate, taxpayer-funded manipulation” on Wednesday in an letter to those leaders.

Space Command was formally established in 2019 and has been based in Colorado Springs – but still no permanent headquarters has been selected. 

Rogers alleges that Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall and Space Command’s Gen. James Dickinson are ignoring requests from the committee for essential documents relating to the selection process. 

“The committee’s review of publicly available information, meetings with each of you, and information from whistleblowers makes one thing clear: The Department of the Air Force and the leadership of USSPACECOM are engaged in deliberate, taxpayer-funded manipulation of a competitive selection process,” Rogers wrote

RELATED: GAO: Alabama 1st, Colorado 5th for Space Command HQ

In May, reports emerged the Biden administration is actively working to “reverse” the decision to locate the headquarters at Redstone Arsenal. Shortly after, the House Armed Services Committee opened an investigation. 

In his letter, Rogers set a Friday deadline for documents to be turned over and an Aug. 18 deadline for an official interview with Kendall and Dickinson. He warns if those requirements are not satisfied – “compulsory processes” can be triggered. 

“In its review of the initial basing decision for SPACECOM, the Government Accountability Office noted that senior DOD leaders intervened to give Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs a chance to change their cost projections and personnel needs without giving other sites the same opportunity,” Rogers wrote. 

“This deliberate change altered the appearance of competition results after the competition was effectively complete.”

The GAO report confirmed that Redstone Arsenal was the highest-scoring location during the agency’s evaluation phase and the highest-ranked location in the selection phase. It also scored the most advantages in the final decision matrix.

(Government Accountability Office, May 2022/Obtained by Yellowhammer News)

“Your responses to the Committee’s requests thus far demonstrate a similar pattern of obfuscation, delay, and manipulation,” Rogers wrote. 

Rep. Dale Strong (R-Huntsville) accounted exactly how long that delay has drawn out: “The Air Force has had two years, five months, and four days,” he said Wednesday.

“This should have been the easiest decision that ever graced Secretary Kendall’s desk. Now he is deliberately defying the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee in an effort to cover up how the Biden administration tipped the scales in favor of Colorado.”

RELATED: Rogers launches probe into Space Command delay

The House-approved FY2024 National Defense Authorization Act included language that would freeze funding for further Space Command facility development in Colorado until the permanent headquarters location was decided or an official report is submitted.

Around the same time, Gen. Dickinson met with Alabama’s congressional delegation and reportedly told them Space Command “belongs” at Redstone Arsenal. 

“General Dickinson just confirmed to us that the headquarters of U.S. Space Command belongs on Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama,” U.S. Sen. Katie Britt said. “This is no surprise, because it’s what the facts clearly support.”

Strong said Dickinson, “had no concerns with the initial decision” and was “assured by him that he couldn’t envision any circumstance where he wouldn’t recommend Huntsville as the permanent SPACECOM HQ.

The escalating row between Congress and the Pentagon over the final basing location continues to draw out as tomorrow’s deadline for documents set by Rogers quickly approaches. 

Grayson Everett is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @Grayson270 

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