More than two years after Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal was selected as the permanent location for U.S. Space Command, the decision is still under review by the Air Force.
The fact that the issue remains unsettled continues to frustrate Alabama lawmakers and has led to contentious questioning of military officials during congressional and senate hearings. On Tuesday, it was Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s turn to raise the issue.
Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall – the man tasked with reviewing the Space Command decision – was on the other end. And despite Tuberville’s repeated attempts, and apparent frustration, there was no new information.
“I don’t have anything new to report on that,” Kendall told Tuberville, and then repeated several times when Tuberville pressed the issue.
Exactly why the decision is under review, why the review is taking so long and just generally where things stand all remain unclear at this point. But Kendall insisted that he was the sole person responsible for the review and that the White House would have no input.
The bickering over the decision has been portrayed as a partisan issue. Former President Donald Trump moved Space Command from its location in Colorado, and when he did so, his comments seemed to indicate that he did so because a majority of Alabama voters selected him as president.
Trump has since denied that politics played a role and multiple independent reviews of the decision have found that it complied with laws and that Redstone Arsenal was the best fit.
In late March, following a Washington Post story saying that President Biden was likely to overturn the decision to move Space Command to Huntsville, Kendall told Rep. Robert Aderholt, during a congressional committee hearing, that the report was wrong and that the White House has not had input on the review process.
“I haven’t made a recommendation. I haven’t made a decision. We’re still in the process of doing some analysis,” Kendall said in March.
The Post story cited sources at the White House who were concerned that a move of Space Command now could cause disruption at a critical time.