COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4)- The Department of Defense is investigating the decision to move U.S. Space Command headquarters from Colorado to Alabama. Last month, the Trump administration announced the move.
Earlier this month, Gov. Jared Polis' office released a letter urging Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to review the Donald Trump administration's Jan. 13 announcement -- just a week before Trump's term ended -- that the new U.S. Space Command headquarters will be in Huntsville, Alabama, home to the U.S. Army's Redstone Arsenal. The command provisionally is located at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs.
The Air Force announcement stunned Colorado leaders, who insisted U.S. military officials had urged then-President Trump to keep the command at Peterson. After meeting with Polis before a campaign rally in Colorado Springs in February 2020, Trump himself strongly hinted to rousing cheers that the command would stay put.
The Defense Inspector General will evaluate "whether or not the Department of the Air Force complied with the Department of Defense and Air Force policies during the selection process, if the Department of the Air Force used objective and relevant scoring factors to rank the six candidate locations and if the DAF calculated the cost and other scoringfactors accurately amongst the six candidate locations."
Colorado Congressman Doug Lamborn issued the following statement on Friday: "It is imperative that we thoroughly review what I believe will prove to be a fundamentally flawed process that focused on bean-counting rather than American space dominance. I have been in close contact with the Office of Inspector General and my colleagues on the Armed Services Committee about this matter, and have also requested the Government Accountability Office review the defective methodology behind this process. I welcome the investigation by the DOD OIG, and look forward to this review. I will continue working to ensure that this decision was made with neither political bias nor arbitrary and inappropriate metrics which will ultimately materially damage our national security and hamper Space Command's critical mission."
Earlier this year, Lamborn requested President Biden review the process and joined the Colorado Congressional Delegation to again request the Biden administration review the process. He also requested an investigation by the Office of Inspector of Department of Defense.
The Space Command differs from the U.S. Space Force, launched in December 2019 as the first new military service since the Air Force was created in 1947. The Space Command is not an individual military service but a central command for military-wide space operations. It operated at Peterson from 1985 until it was dissolved in 2002 and was revived in 2019.
Huntsville was chosen after Air Force site visits to Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Nebraska, New Mexico and Texas competing for the command headquarters. The Huntsville decision is subject to environmental review, expected by 2023.
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