North Alabama U.S. Rep. Dale Strong (R-Huntsville) and other Alabama leaders hit back Monday night at the Biden administration’s reported decision to keep U.S. Space Command headquarters in Colorado instead of moving it to Alabama as a formal competition called for.
Strong represents Huntsville which came out on top of a required Pentagon comparison of bases that wanted to host the new command. That included the Colorado Springs Air Force base reportedly now favored by Biden’s team. The command was started there but Colorado had to compete for the permanent right to host the command according to Pentagon rules.
An NBC report Monday night said the Biden White House is concerned about Alabama’s strong anti-abortion laws and also believes the head start Colorado got by being the startup and current home of the command shouldn’t be wasted.
“When the Air Force looked at what was in the best interest of national security, they chose Redstone Arsenal to house U.S. Space Command headquarters,” Strong said of the Pentagon review. “Any deviation from that is a slight against those serving in uniform. I’ve seen all the reviews and reports on the basing process – but don’t remember access to late-term abortions being one of the 21 criteria used to evaluate the sites.
“The White House’s inaction and handwringing have brought the consequence of a more than two-year delay for the final basing decision for Space Command,” Strong said. “Each passing day is another reminder that the Biden Administration is willing to prioritize bowing down to political pressure over what is best for the military and national defense.”
Strong wasn’t the only Alabama official speaking out. U.S. Sen. Katie Britt issued a statement Monday night calling the reported decision political and “a dishonor to (Biden’s) oath of office as our nation’s Commander-in-Chief.”
“Locating the permanent Space Command Headquarters on Redstone Arsenal undoubtedly remains in the best national security interest of the United States,” Britt said. “President Biden should allow the Air Force to proceed with doing its job. 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.”
“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,” Britt said. “That decision should remain in the Air Force’s purview. Instead, President Biden is now trying to hand the Gold Medal to the fifth-place finisher.
“The president’s blatant prioritization of partisan political considerations at the expense of our national security, military modernization, and force readiness is a disservice and a dishonor to his oath of office as our nation’s Commander-in-Chief. Locating the permanent Space Command Headquarters on Redstone Arsenal undoubtedly remains in the best national security interest of the United States.
Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said Monday night that “a data-driven, multiyear search confirmed Huntsville was the best spot for USSPACECOM headquarters – not just once, but twice.”
If the report is accurate, Battle said Huntsville, “along with several other cities that also ranked higher than Colorado Springs in hosting Space Command headquarters, deserves an apology from the U.S. Department of Defense and Air Force for putting each community through this exhaustive and costly exercise, only to have the results dismissed due to the latest political discourse.”
“Not only does Huntsville have the talent and experience to oversee America’s military operations in space, but we also have secure land at Redstone Arsenal as well as 70-plus federal agencies providing robust military and aerospace expertise to protect our nation’s security,” Battle said. “Our high quality of life, low cost of doing business, schools, healthcare system and more also informed the vetting process that found Huntsville was the lead choice for making USSPACECOM a success.”
Win or lose, Battle said, “Huntsville will move forward and continue to be a good neighbor with our national military partners. We will work closely with our military and aerospace sectors to ensure Huntsville remains a key component in furthering USSPACECOM’s mission on both the national and global stage.”
Other members of Alabama’s congressional delegation also weighed in.
“This report, if true, is very concerning for national security. This is the second article in two months discussing the possibility of Space Command remaining in Colorado,” U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt said.
“After the previous article, I questioned Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall directly during a hearing, and he assured us that the Space Command basing decision was his, and his alone. He told me that President Biden had put the decision squarely in his hands. I would like to know what has changed in the past two months.”
“Both a GAO & IG report confirmed that the Air Force used a merit-based process in deciding to locate Space Command HQ in Huntsville. This conclusion was made under two separate administrations,” Rep. Terri Sewell tweeted.
“The White House should immediately reconfirm Huntsville as the headquarters of Space Command. To change course would be because of politics and not merit. Surely, the Biden Administration would not allow politics to improperly influence this decision,” Sewell added.
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