House Members Increase Pressure on Air Force for Space Command Decision
House members are ramping up efforts to push the Air Force into making a final decision on the long-term location of the United States Space Command. Currently based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the Air Force had selected the Army’s Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama as the preferred permanent base during the Trump administration. However, Colorado officials are determined to keep the base in their state, citing its significant contribution to the local economy with 1,400 jobs and millions of dollars.
The House Armed Services Committee has released a draft of the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes a provision to halt construction spending on the temporary headquarters in Colorado until the Air Force announces its final decision and provides justification for the selection. Additionally, the House Appropriations Committee has added language to its 2024 military construction funding bill to halt funding for Space Command’s headquarters until a final decision is made.
A Battle Between Colorado and Alabama
Lawmakers from both Colorado and Alabama have been publicly advocating for their respective states. Colorado lawmakers argue that it would be quicker to bring the temporary base to full capacity than to relocate to Huntsville and establish operations there. On the other hand, Alabama politicians point to the initial decision and subsequent review process that favored their state.
House Armed Services Chairman Mike Rogers (R-AL) is determined to support Huntsville as the permanent base, stating, “Huntsville won the competition, and they’re gonna get the permanent base. And we’re gonna make sure that anybody who thinks they’re going to get authorization or funding to [undo] that is mistaken.”
Concerns and Reviews
Representative Doug Lamborn (R-CO) expressed concerns about the disruption to Space Command’s day-to-day operations if it were to move to Alabama. He called for the withdrawal of the provisions within the defense bills immediately.
Gen. James Dickinson, the commander of Space Command, initiated a review to determine if the current base is at full operational capability. This review will assess whether the base has the necessary resources and personnel to effectively carry out its mission. Currently, under “initial operating capability,” Space Command hires personnel for temporary positions, but a switch would allow for permanent positions.
Abortion Laws and Decision-Making
There have been reports that the Biden administration is considering not moving Space Command’s headquarters to Alabama due to the state’s strict anti-abortion laws. However, a White House official clarified that abortion laws or reproductive care access are not factors in the review of the permanent location.
Chairman Rogers has requested the preservation of all documentation regarding the selection of the U.S. Space Command headquarters location, expressing concerns that access to abortion could potentially influence the decision.
Overall, the battle between Colorado and Alabama for the permanent location of the United States Space Command continues, with House members exerting pressure on the Air Force to make a final decision.
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