It’s official—Space Command HQ is not coming to Huntsville

U.S. Space Command will keep its headquarters in Colorado Springs. (Staff Sgt. JT Armstrong/U.S. Space Force)

Well, it’s official. After months of political back-and-forth between Alabama officials and the White House, Pres. Joe Biden has made the decision to keep the U.S. Space Command headquarters in Colorado.

After the initial excitement in Huntsville when former president Donald Trump announced the Space Command headquarters would be moved from Colorado Springs to Huntsville, the Rocket City faces the disappointment of this latest news.

Here’s more:

Pres. Biden’s decision on Space Command HQ

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Pres. Biden reversed a decision by Pres. Trump to move the Space Command headquarters to Huntsville. (U.S. Space Command)

According to a report from the Associated Press, Biden’s decision to keep the headquarters in Colorado was to “avoid a disruption in readiness that the move would cause, particularly as the U.S. races to compete with China in space.”

White House officials said Biden was “convinced by the head of Space Command, Gen. James Dickinson, who argued that moving his headquarters now would jeopardize military readiness.”

The decision by Biden to keep the headquarters in Colorado — as well as Trump’s decision to move the headquarters to Alabama — has been viewed by critics as a politically motivated move.

Trump’s decision to move the HQ was said to be motivated by Biden’s election win in Colorado in 2020, while critics have said Biden’s decision was motivated by Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama’s halt of military promotions and appointments due to the Pentagon’s abortion policies.

Either way, Huntsville is now left to wonder what could have been.

‘Deeply disappointed’

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Mayor Tommy Battle says the decision by Biden is “demoralizing.” (Michael Seale/Hville Blast)

Mayor Tommy Battle issued a statement Monday upon hearing the news of Biden’s decision, saying it was “deeply disappointing.”

“This community went through a lengthy selection process – twice. To have that process invalidated, and to have our selection taken away is demoralizing. It is even more disturbing that the selection is going to the community that ranked fifth in the selection process. Our systems should be better than that. The Department of Defense deserves better than that.”

Mayor Tommy Battle

Sen. Katie Britt (R-AL) said she believes the decision by Biden was politically motivated reiterated her longstanding public stance that Redstone remains the best permanent HQ location for Space Command to advance America’s vital national security interests.

“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.”

Sen. Katie Britt

Britt is currently the ranking member of the Homeland Security Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

Where we started, how we got here

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Space Command was poised to relocate as many as 75,000 employees to Redstone Arsenal. (Space Command / Facebook)

As we reported last summer, the relocation of the U.S. Space Command headquarters to Huntsville was basically a “done deal,” so to speak after an extended investigation into Trump’s decision-making process to move the operations of Space Command.

Since then, more politics and partisanship has come into play that has further delayed the relocation process.

Here’s a timeline of events that has led us to where we are now in the process:

  • The Air Force originally announced its decision to move U.S. Space Command to Redstone Arsenal in January 2021
  • The Air Force’s decision angered Colorado lawmakers and its business community, which touted Colorado Springs’s status as a longtime hub for military space operations and industry, and the current SPACECOM headquarters. They called for multiple investigations by the defense secretary, DoD inspector general and Government Accountability Office into the basing process.
  • After a 15-month process that questioned the methods by which Huntsville was chosen for the new Space Command headquarters, Pentagon officials on May 2 said they found “no foul play” involved in the selection process, giving the Air Force the green light to move the SPACECOM HQ to Alabama.
  • In June, the Government Accountability Office released a report stating that, while the Air Force’s process for choosing Space Command’s location was not completely up to par with recommendations, Redstone Arsenal still stands out as the top choice for Space Command HQ.
  • In June 2021, the USAF announced that the environmental review found no issues with the proposed site for the new headquarters. A variety of potential impacts were studied including noise levels, transportation and natural resources.
  • Pres. Joe Biden said he has been advised to overturn the decision by Trump to move the Space Command headquarters.
  • Senators Britt and Tuberville, with Rep. Dale Strong, met with USSPACECOM officials in Washington to champion Huntsville.
  • Tuberville, despite bipartisan urging to drop his hold-up of military nominations and promotions, reaffirms that he won’t drop the holds until there is a vote on the Pentagon abortion policy.
  • Biden announces the Space Command headquarters will remain in Colorado Springs.

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Michael Seale
Michael Seale
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