Air Force Secretary Barbara M. Barrett announced that U.S. Space Command should move from Colorado to Alabama a week before resigning.

The decision to move the command from Peterson Air Force Base, in Colorado Springs, to Redstone Arsenal, an Army base in Huntsville, comes after intense lobbying from a number of states.

“Huntsville compared favorably across more of these factors than any other community, providing a large, qualified workforce, quality schools, superior infrastructure capacity, and low initial and recurring costs,” the Air Force said in a statement. “Additionally, Redstone Arsenal offered a facility to support the headquarters, at no cost, while the permanent facility is being constructed.”

Alabama officials were thrilled.

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said Huntsville has spent years getting ready to compete for jobs and business.

“I think you’ve got to look at the Air Force’s announcement,” he said. “You had to have schools, you had to have infrastructure, you had to have a workforce, you have to have a lot of these things to make this work. They looked very hard for two years, they made us go through our paces. And this was done on merit. It was done on the merit that we as a community have been setting ourselves up for the last 15, 20 years.”

Officials in Colorado Springs are slamming the decision.

“We’re extremely disappointed and concerned with the decision—and it appears to be influenced by personal politics,” Dirks Draper, the president of the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Corp., which managed the campaign for the city of Colorado Springs to keep Space Command.

Draper told Fox News that the process was “unprecedented” due to the competitive nature of the decision-making.

“The military always makes decisions based on military criteria, what is compatible for resources, and military alignment,” Draper said, adding that it would be “interruptive” to move Space Command from its temporary headquarters.

“We are at risk of interrupting the missing of guarding the space domain by relocating it,” Draper told Fox News. “It doesn’t make sense that they would go to another community and rebuild, or duplicate infrastructure that is already here in Colorado Springs—there is no reason for it, from a logistics, or national security standpoint.”

Colorado congressional delegation is working feverishly to get Biden to reverse the decision.

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) sent a letter to Biden on Wednesday not long after the Pentagon announced it had decided to base the 1,400-person headquarters at the Army facility in Alabama, not at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado. In his letter, Lamborn highlighted the need to maintain stability in America’s national security space enterprise as Russia and China develop technology to attack the U.S. in orbit.

“This last-minute decision, based entirely on political expediency, will devastate our space capabilities,” Lamborn wrote. “I call on you to use your authority upon taking office as our nation’s commoner-in-chief to reverse this foolish and hastily made decision.”

Separately, Colorado Democrats Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper released a statement saying they will “ensure the Biden administration reviews this purported decision.”

Helpful hint for the Colorado Senators: Any decision Biden may make (and just how many of these is questionable) will be political. However, reports indicate the decision won’t be finalized until 2023.

President Donald Trump’s salvaging of the US space program may be one of his most significant achievements. Here’s hoping that all American progress in the space race is not undone in the next four years.

 

 
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