The decade's most triggering comedy
A Pentagon spokesperson announced on Monday that Biden made the decision following a “thorough and deliberate evaluation process,” consultation with Defense Secretary Loyd Austin, and input from senior military leaders.
National Security Adviser John Kirby told CNN that Biden acted on “operational readiness” alone. “When it came down to it, he believes it is in the best national security interests of the country if we leave Space Command in Colorado,” Kirby added.
Kirby: The President believes it's in the best national security interest if we leave space command in Colorado pic.twitter.com/73FxHPuS2W
— Acyn (@Acyn) July 31, 2023
U.S. Space Command, which is separate from the Space Force, is currently headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with personnel and functions spread across bases in Colorado, Nebraska and California. It employs joint forces from the various military branches to deliver “space capabilities” to U.S. forces.
Former President Donald Trump revived the program during his administration and, during his final days in office in January 2021, it was announced that the Air Force intended to move the Space Command headquarters to Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama — the same area that House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) has now suggested the FBI relocate its headquarters.
Then-acting Air Force Secretary John Roth testified to Congress in the summer of 2021 that Huntsville was chosen as the preferred site as a result of a “strategic basing process” with the help of stakeholders and it was determined that construction and maintenance costs for buildings to hold more than 1,400 people would be cheaper in the Alabama location than in Colorado Springs. In addition, amid concerns by Colorado officials that the planned move lacked merit, Roth said he had personally not seen any evidence that the decision was politically motivated.
Following assessments by the Department of Defense inspector general and the Government Accountability Office that found the Air Force selection process to be proper for the most part, Biden’s decision to back away from the Trump plan pleased Colorado politicians who have opposed the relocation effort.
“This is great news for Colorado and our national security — keeping U.S. Space Command in Colorado Springs is an exciting outcome for our state, military families, jobs, and businesses,” said Colorado Governor Jared Polis, a Democrat.
“I applaud the decision today by the Biden Administration to keep U.S. Space Command where it belongs — Colorado,” Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) said in a statement. “Our entire Congressional Delegation, both Republicans and Democrats, have worked together for years to achieve this important result. Colorado already has the pre-existing infrastructure, first-rate work force, private-sector support, and communication platforms necessary to provide for our national security mission in space.”
Elected officials from Alabama expressed outrage and indicated that they planned to push back against the Biden administration over the reversal.
“The White House choosing to not locate Space Command Headquarters in Alabama – the rightful selection – is very simply the wrong decision for national security,” said Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, a Republican.
Among members of Congress, Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-AL) said he would be “continuing my investigation into Biden’s deliberate, political, taxpayer-funded meddling in this decision,” while Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), who is holding up military promotions to protest against a Pentagon abortion policy, said he would “continue to fight” the planned move.
Kirby, a retired Navy rear admiral, said moving Space Command would likely take between five and 10 years “at a critical time in the space domain when the [People’s Republic of China] is developing incredible capabilities in that regard. Moving it could have a negative effect on Space Command’s readiness and the president finds that unacceptable.”