The decision to choose Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal as the preferred location for U.S Space Command Headquarters is under investigation by the Department of Defense’s inspector general. In a Friday memorandum directed to the secretary of the Air Force, the Inspector General’s Office noted its intentions to evaluate the selection of Huntsville over Colorado Springs, a previously favored location by the Trump White House.
“The objective of this evaluation is to review the basis for selecting Huntsville, Alabama, as the preferred permanent location of the U.S. Space Command headquarters,” the memo states. “Specifically, we will evaluate the extent to which the Department of the Air Force complied with DoD and Air Force policies during the location selection process; used objective and relevant scoring factors to rank the six candidate locations; and calculated the cost and other scoring factors accurately and consistently among the six candidate locations.”
Officials in Colorado said the Air Force’s decision blindsided them, many believing it was a reward to Alabama’s congressional delegation’s near-lockstep objection to the Electoral College result in January. According to the Associated Press, Peterson Air Force Base was a location Trump previously suggested as the final location for U.S Space Command Headquarters during a 2020 rally in Colorado Springs.
On Jan. 13th announcement, the same day as the official announcement, U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs, penned a letter to then-President-elect Joe Biden, encouraging him to investigate the decision once he took office, according to The Denver Post.
In January, a well-placed source on Capital Hill told APR the decision to select Huntsville over Colorado Springs was based on “merit” and wasn’t politically motivated but acknowledged the potential political ramifications for the deal due to the actions of the Alabama delegation, specifically U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Alabama, and U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Hunstville. The source further said Trump was not involved in the final decision to select Hunstville over Colorado Springs.
According to APR, both Tuberville and Brooks planned to take credit for the selection before the announcement. A source who worked on the deal told APR that “this happened because of Senator Shelby, Gov. Ivey, [Congressman] Mike Rogers and [Huntsville mayor] Tommy Battle,” calling Tuberville and Brooks’s actions “shameful.” As early as December, insiders were warning that Tuberville and Brooks’s decision to object to the Electoral College results would endanger the U.S. Space Command deal.
A week after the sacking of the U.S. Capitol, insiders told APR the objection to the electoral results could cost the state billions in government contracts and diminish the state’s economic future.
In a statement Monday, Gov. Kay Ivey said she welcomes the inspector general’s review, reiterating that the decision was based on merit and the independent review would confirm this.
“We remain confident that just as the Air Force discovered, Huntsville’s Redstone Region will provide our warfighters with the greatest space capability at the best value to the taxpayers,” Ivey said. “Alabama welcomes the Inspector General’s review of the decision to name the Redstone Region the preferred location for the permanent headquarters for Space Command.”