Space Command “politics” anger Alabama authorities 2023
May 18, 2023
Alabama authorities are furious about allegations that the White House is trying to halt plans to transfer U.S. Space Command’s headquarters to Alabama owing to its draconian abortion ban.
Last summer’s law banned practically all abortions, including those caused by rape and incest. The White House requested the Air Force investigate why the transfer was permitted. NBC News reports
Plan may be cancelled.
“Been worried about it for two years,” Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) told The Hill.
“The Biden administration has been making this about politics and not merit,” he stated.
“Unfortunately, we’re going that way, but we’re not done. Hopefully they’ll realize that Space Command is better in Huntsville, Alabama.”
On Tuesday, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) tweeted such statements.
Space Command Headquarters must be in Alabama, period. She stated the race was uncontested. “Pentagon knows. The White House knows. I’ll repeat it until HQ is in Huntsville, and Alabama will prove it.
Presidents have been accused of politicizing Space Command headquarters before.
The U.S. Space Command, dissolved in 2002, was resurrected in 2019 by President Trump to command military space activities. Before leaving office, he picked Huntsville as its permanent headquarters from Colorado Springs.
Colorado authorities blamed the 2020 election, when Biden defeated Trump by more than 13 points.
In March, Republican Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers wrote to Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall that the election influenced the Huntsville selection. Before the election, Trump informed Suthers, “I want to see how it turns out” regarding Spacecom.
Trump claimed that he “single-handedly” chose Huntsville despite Space Force personnel urging a Colorado headquarters.
Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), currently strategic forces subcommittee chair, labeled it a “horrendous decision” at the time.
At a 2021 press conference, Dirk Draper, the chairman of the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce, stated, “If ever there was a Trumped-up decision, this feels like one.
After Biden became president, the military undertook thorough studies into political influence over the selection process, but found nothing wrong.
The House Armed Services Committee chairman, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), called Space Command’s relocation delay “beyond frustrating.”
The GAO and Pentagon Inspector General supported the headquarters move to Huntsville.
“That decision was based on two studies—they took into account several factors including quality of life, available infrastructure, and workforce capabilities,” the lawmaker stated. Huntsville, Alabama won both.
“It is well past time for the Department of Defense and Administration to stop playing political games and affirm Huntsville as Spacecom’s new home,” he stated.
The GAO investigation found “significant shortfalls in the transparency and credibility” of the process and recommended that the Air Force create base selection criteria.
Spacecom may move to Redstone Arsenal, an Army installation near Huntsville that houses NASA, ULA, Blue Origin, and others. Moving there might attract more than
1,400 U.S. service men, contractors, and civilians.
The delay is due to operations problems, not abortion legislation, according to White House officials.
The Administration denied that Tuberville’s 180 military nominations delayed the move.
Tuberville is blocking general and flag officer nominations to protest a new Pentagon policy that reimburses servicemembers for abortion travel fees in jurisdictions where the operation is illegal.
Alabama would apply that policy.
The government considers health care, housing, airports, growth, cost, and quality of life when placing military stations. Spacecom employees, most of whom reside off-base, would have restricted reproductive health care under Alabama’s abortion law.
Kendall, who made the final Spacecom headquarters decision, said he didn’t know about Biden trying to stop the relocation.
Kendall is examining the site decision for any changes since the selection for the Biden administration.
“We’re trying to take into consideration all possible factors that will affect the final decision,” he stated last month.