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Biden to keep SPACECOM headquarters in Colorado, Alabama officials upset

Alabama officials including, Congresswoman Terri Sewell, D-Alabama, are condemning the long-anticipated decision.

U.S. Space Command
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President Joe Biden announced Monday that the U.S. Space Command headquarters will remain in Colorado prompting Alabama elected officials to denounce the decision.

Alabama officials are upset because toward the end of Donald Trump’s presidency, after an Air Force recommendation, Trump said that he would move Space Command headquarters to Huntsville.

In August 2021, Trump appeared on the Alabama-based radio show “Rick & Bubba.” He said “single-handedly” he made the call to locate Space Command at Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal. However, Trump misidentified the U.S. military’s Space Command as Space Force. 

“Space force – I sent to Alabama,” Trump said during the call-in interview. “I hope you know that. [They] said they were looking for a home and I single-handedly said ‘Let’s go to Alabama. They wanted it. I said let’s go to Alabama. I love Alabama.”

Current Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall and former Air Force Secretary Barbara Barett have each supported moving the headquarters to Huntsville. Huntsville’s Red Arsenal location also ranked the highest in multiple Air Force evaluations. 

However, according to reports, Biden decided to go with the advice of Gen. James Dickinson, head of Space Command. Dickinson conveyed to Biden that he believed the headquarters should stay in Colorado because it will be ready in August and changing the location could hinder the military. 

Alabama officials including Republicans like U.S. Sen. Katie Britt, R-Alabama, and Congresswoman Terri Sewell, D-Alabama, are condemning the decision, stating that Biden is putting partisan politics over the interest of national security. Yet, virtually none of the officials stated explicitly what issues could be prompting Biden to decide against moving the headquarters to Alabama.

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Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Alabama, has maintained a hold on military nominations due to the Pentagon’s abortion policy. Tuberville has upheld over 270 military nominations in a move also criticized as putting politics over the interest of national security.

According to Andrew Desiderio at Punchbowl News, the Washington D.C. scoop publication, “there’s no denying that Tuberville’s actions, which have angered Biden and top Pentagon officials, had an impact” on the decision to keep Space Command in Colorado.

“Alabama’s lawmakers are already vowing that the fight isn’t over. However, none of them are blaming Tuberville for the setback — at least not publicly,” Desiderio reported on Tuesday morning.

Tuberville said following the decision that, “this is absolutely not over,” and vowed to fight to bring Space Command to Alabama.

Along with Tuberville’s political miscalculation, Alabama could be suffering the consequences of its anti-abortion policy in the state. According to CNN, U.S. officials previously stated their apprehension to moving the headquarters to Alabama given what it would mean for service members sent to Alabama and their reproductive healthcare.

Read below a list of some of the full statements given by Alabama elected officials in response to Biden’s decision:

Gov. Kay Ivey

“The White House choosing to not locate Space Command Headquarters in Alabama – the rightful selection – is very simply the wrong decision for national security. The fact that a CNN reporter is who first delivered the news to Alabama should say all.”

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Sen. Katie Britt, R-Alabama

“President Biden has irresponsibly decided to yank a military decision out of the Air Force’s hands in the name of partisan politics. Huntsville finished first in both the Air Force’s Evaluation Phase and Selection Phase, leaving no doubt that the Air Force’s decision to choose Redstone as the preferred basing location was correct purely on the merits. That decision should have remained in the Air Force’s purview. Instead, President Biden is now trying to hand the Gold Medal to the fifth-place finisher. The President’s blatant prioritization of partisan political considerations at the expense of our national security, military modernization, and force readiness is a disservice and a dishonor to his oath of office as our nation’s Commander-in-Chief. Locating the permanent Space Command Headquarters on Redstone Arsenal undoubtedly remains in the best national security interest of the United States. President Biden should allow the Air Force to proceed with doing its job. Alabama’s world-class aerospace and defense workforce, capabilities, and synergies stand ready to fulfill the mission and strengthen our national security long into the future.”

Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Alabama

 “The Administration’s decision to keep Space Command in Colorado bows to the whims of politics over merit. Huntsville won this selection process fair and square based on the merits. In three separate reports, Huntsville reigned victorious, whereas Colorado did not come in second or even third. This reversal is as shameful as it is disappointing. I expected more from the Biden Administration. A decision of this magnitude should not be about red states versus blue states, but rather what is in the best interest of our national security. To be clear, the Alabama Congressional Delegation stands united in opposition to this decision.”

Rep. Jerry Carl, R-Alabama

“Multiple reviews have determined Huntsville, Alabama, is by far the best place for the headquarters of U.S. Space Command, but the Biden administration has chosen to play petty politics and keep the headquarters in Colorado Springs, which came in fifth in the Selection Phase. It is clear the Biden administration cares more about advancing their far-left agenda than the security of our nation. We will not give up the fight, and we will continue doing all we can to hold the Administration accountable for this ridiculous decision.”

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall

“We as Alabamians know that Huntsville is the best location for Space Command. Based on the military’s review, President Biden does too, yet he has made this decision to the detriment of our national security choosing instead to score partisan political points. My office will be reviewing Biden’s actions and exploring the state’s legal options moving forward.”

Patrick Darrington is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected].

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