U.S. Space Command’s home moving out of Colorado in move Polis calls “politically motivated” – Lamar Ledger
Colorado leaders on both sides of the aisle have blown the decision announced on Wednesday to give Alabama the permanent location of the US Space Command headquarters and relinquish its current temporary location in Colorado Springs.
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said in a press conference that afternoon that the move was “political” and that outgoing President Donald Trump has chosen Alabama to reward Senator Tommy Tuberville, one of eight Republican senators who are part of the certification process Electoral College challenged in Congress last week.
“There are many indications that politics might have been involved,” said Suthers.
US Representative Doug Lamborn of R-Colorado Springs sent a letter to President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday asking him to reverse the decision.
“I am disappointed with the terrible decision to tear the US Space Command out of its Colorado Springs home and relocate it to a new location,” Lamborn said in a written statement. “There is no getting around it: The relocation of SPACECOM will damage our national security considerably. As we speak, our near-peer opponents Russia and China are actively working to defeat our space capabilities. “
Lamborn said the relocation decision was “political” and he vowed to oppose and fight the move.
Speaking at the press conference with Suthers, Dirk Draper, President and CEO of the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce, who led the city’s offer to the U.S. Air Force to land the command center, also described politics as a role.
“If there’s ever been a trumped-up decision, it feels like one,” said Draper.
Colorado Springs, home of Peterson Air Force Base, is currently the temporary Space Command Base and will be for the next five years, Suthers said. City, state, and federal officials felt that Colorado Springs would be made permanent home.
Moving to Alabama will cost taxpayers billions of dollars, Draper said, and the Colorado Springs area would lose an annual economic impact of $ 450 million. After all, Space Command would employ around 1,400 people at its headquarters.
Governor Jared Polis and Lt. Governor Dianne Primavera released a statement Wednesday claiming that Colorado was “the epicenter of the national security space and the only permanent home for US Space Command.”
“Reports that Colorado Springs has been the best place for military readiness and expense because of the thorough military process and that Colorado has recommended that the president be overridden for political reasons only are deeply worrying,” said Polis and Primavera.
“This misguided decision would potentially cost American taxpayers billions of dollars and would be tax irresponsible if it persists. We are committed to working with our federal delegation to restore the integrity of the process as it develops. The work of so many partners in Colorado Springs and across the state has been instrumental in our joint effort to keep the U.S. Space Command in Colorado, and we are grateful for their partnership. “
US Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper weighed up with a joint statement.
“We are deeply disappointed that the Trump administration is trying to move Space Command from Colorado to Alabama,” said the senators’ statement. “We don’t believe that this decision reflects the best, or even rational, choice for our national security and ability to address threats in space. We are concerned about rumors that the Trump White House influenced this decision for political reasons. “
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey said the Redstone region in Huntsville will be the headquarters for the newest U.S. military command. The governor said she was informed of the decision on Wednesday morning. An official announcement has been set for Wednesday afternoon.
“Our state has a long history of tremendous support for our military and families, and a rich and historic history of space exploration,” Ivey said in a statement.
Huntsville’s nickname Rocket City is mainly thanks to Wernher von Braun and his team of German-born rocketeers who settled here in the 1950s. The city has long been home to the Army’s Redstone Arsenal and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.
“The bottom line is simple: the Redstone region is the most natural choice to serve on such an important mission for our country,” said Ivey.
Ivey’s office said the Air Force Deputy Assistant Secretary for Instillations, Bob Moriarity, called Ivey to inform her of Secretary Barbara Barrett’s decision as to where headquarters would be.
Other locations that were considered included Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, and Port San Antonio, Texas.
Suthers said Wednesday that decisions to locate bases and headquarters are historically made by military command and that Trump’s intervention should be undone by the Biden administration.
Huntsville lacks the infrastructure and capacity that Colorado Springs already has, Suthers said.
“I said from the start that if it were a merit decision, Colorado Springs would prevail,” said Suthers. “It is not in the interests of national security or the American taxpayer to move the space command.”
Colorado Springs will petition the federal government under the Freedom of Information Act to learn more about the decision behind the move, and Suthers urged the news media to do the same.
“Get the FOIA out,” he said.