WASHINGTON — Alabama Republican and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers said the White House’s decision to base U.S. Space Command headquarters in Colorado rather than in his home state was “driven by far-left politics, not national security.”
Rogers said in a July 31 statement that while the White House has approved a location, “the fight” for the future home of Space Command “is far from over.”
“I will continue to hold the Biden administration accountable for their egregious political meddling in our national security,” he said.
After a years-long process, the U.S. Defense Department said July 31 President Biden approved Peterson Space Force Base in Colorado Springs as the headquarters location for the newest combatant command, following reports from the Associated Press that the White House had abandoned a 2021 decision to base Space Command in Huntsville, Alabama.
The decision, according to the Pentagon, has support from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Space Command head Gen. James Dickinson and Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall, who led the basing process.
Contrary to Rogers’ concerns about the decision impairing national security, the department said the move “ensures peak readiness” across the space enterprise.
“Locating headquarters U.S. Space Command in Colorado Springs ultimately ensures peak readiness in the space domain for our nation during a critical period,” the Department of Defense said in a statement. “It will also enable the command to most effectively plan, execute and integrate military spacepower into multi-domain global operations.”
The question of where Space Command headquarters will ultimately be located had been unresolved since former president Donald Trump announced in 2018 he would reinstate the organization. In 2021, Trump selected Huntsville to host the command in a move that triggered accusations of political meddling from the Colorado congressional delegation.
Those lawmakers, including Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-CO, called for the DoD inspector general and the Government Accountability Office to review the decision.
Both watchdog organizations found last year that while the basing process had its flaws — including a lack of transparency and credibility — the Air Force followed the law in choosing Alabama as its preferred location for U.S. Space Command. However, the service continued to review the findings and conduct its own analysis of the process.
Rogers has been critical of Pentagon’s drawn-out headquarters selection process, telling Defense News in early July he would delay approval of routine DoD requests to shift funding among accounts due to the stalled decision process.
Following the White House’s announcement, he said he will continue an investigation he initiated earlier this summer to determine whether the Biden administration “intentionally misled” lawmakers about their basing process.
Meanwhile, Colorado lawmakers praised the decision.
“This decision aligns with the best military advice of countless senior military leaders who all agree that Peterson Space Force Base is the most viable option for USSPACECOM to reach full operational capability the fastest and is the best permanent home for its long-term operations,” Lamborn said in a statement.
Senators Michael Bennet, D-CO, and John Hickenlooper, D-CO, said in a joint statement the White House’s decision “restores integrity to the Pentagon’s basing process.”
“After two investigations and rigorous review by the Department of Defense, the administration has made the decision that’s in our country’s best interest,” Hickenlooper said.
Courtney Albon is C4ISRNET’s space and emerging technology reporter. She has covered the U.S. military since 2012, with a focus on the Air Force and Space Force. She has reported on some of the Defense Department’s most significant acquisition, budget and policy challenges.