U.S. Senator Katie Britt (R-Ala.,) on Tuesday, directly made the case to U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin as to why his department and the U.S. Air Force should stand by the decision to locate U.S. Space Command’s headquarters on Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama. During a hearing of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Senator Britt condemned President Biden’s politicization of the basing process and reiterated why Redstone Arsenal is the best location in the interest of U.S. national security.
NBC News reported Monday that President Biden is preparing to reverse the Air Force’s original decision to name Redstone Arsenal as the permanent location for USSPACECOM headquarters. The NBC report makes it clear that the Biden Administration’s plan is politically motivated and would blatantly ignore the overwhelming conclusion of multiple government reports and reviews that named Huntsville as the best site for the combatant command.
Senator Britt’s remarks yesterday came in the broader context of the leading role Alabama’s defense industrial base plays across the Pentagon’s 21st century mission, including as it relates to combating growing aggression and threats by the Chinese Communist Party.
A transcript of Senator Britt’s remarks follows:
As the leader of the Department of Defense, I implore you to cut through the politics and make a final basing decision for the U.S. Space Command headquarters.
As you know, Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal finished first in both the Air Force’s Evaluation Phase and the Selection Phase. That leaves no doubt that the Air Force’s decision to choose Redstone as the preferred basing location was correct and it was done on the merits. That decision should remain in the Air Force’s purview.
Media reports have said that the President and those in the White House are preparing to prioritize partisan political considerations at the expense of our national security, our military modernization, and our force readiness, and for me that is deeply disturbing.
When you look at this, you said earlier, in order to compete and succeed against China we must use all of our tools. When you look at that, we know those tools are there at Redstone Arsenal.
When you look at the City of Huntsville in the past two years, they have been ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the number one and number two place to live in the United States. The city has also been ranked number three in the most affordable places to live in the country, the number three city nationwide for best quality of life, and number four as the most prosperous place in America, and I could go on about Huntsville and all of the city’s accolades.
The bottom line is not only that Huntsville’s workforce is best-prepared to support Space Command’s mission – and also the City of Huntsville is the best place for Space Command’s workforce to thrive and live the American Dream. Locating the permanent Space Command headquarters on Redstone Arsenal undoubtedly remains in the best national security interest of the United States.
You referenced earlier in your remarks the build-up of China in both space and cyberspace. My colleague across the aisle said Xi Jinping says that the U.S. has a flawed and failing political system. Do not prove him right. Urge the President to take the politics out of this. Do what is best for making sure we are ready and capable to face China on all fronts.
Urge him to allow the Air Force to do its job. It is certainly, in my opinion, past time.
Video footage of Senator Britt’s remarks at Tuesday’s hearing can be found here.