August 2, 2023
President Joe Biden has overturned a decision by the Trump Administration to relocate the temporary headquarters of Space Command to Alabama—deciding instead to keep the base in Colorado, reports The Hill.
The decision was made because Biden believes that keeping the HQ in Colorado Springs, rather than relocating it to Huntsville, would maintain stability and not impact readiness, according to a senior U.S. official.
The senior administration official said that Biden consulted with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and other military leaders before deciding to keep the base in Colorado permanently.
General James Dickinson, the head of Space Command, also helped to convince Biden to not relocate the base, according to the Associated Press.
U.S. Space Command headquarters is set to achieve “full operational capability” at Colorado Springs later this month, according to the senior administration official.
The official said moving the headquarters to Alabama would have forced a transition process that would not allow the new base to open until the mid-2030’s.
“The President found that risk unacceptable, especially given the challenges we may face in the space domain during this critical time period,” the official said. “Locating Headquarters U.S. Space Command in Colorado Springs ensures peak readiness in the space domain for our nation during a critical period.”
Biden’s reversal is likely to spark the fury of Alabama Republicans, who have for months feared the administration would scrap the relocation plan.
Alabama Representative Mike Rogers (R), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, has been investigating the delay behind the relocation plan, which was first put in motion when Space Command was resurrected in 2019.
Former President Trump’s decision to temporarily establish a headquarters in Colorado and relocate Space Command to Alabama was criticized as a political choice based upon a more favorable constituency in the Yellowhammer State.
Since coming into office, the Biden Administration has ordered reviews of the decision—none of which found anything improper in Trump’s determination, although they found the former president could have followed better practices in the process.
The delayed relocation reached new heights over the spring when NBC News reported that the Biden Administration was considering scrapping the relocation plan because of restrictive abortion laws in Alabama.
Rogers and other Alabama Republicans objected to any such plan—saying Huntsville, also known as Rocket City, was selected based on its merits and in a fair process, while pointing to the reviews that found nothing improper.
Colorado Senator Michael Bennet (D) joined officials from his state in celebrating Biden’s decision.
“Today’s decision restores integrity to the Pentagon’s basing process and sends a strong message that national security and the readiness of our Armed Forces drive our military decisions,” he added.
Research contact: @thehill