December 6, 2021

The Japan Herald

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Lawmakers have asked the Air Force Secretary to ‘halt all activities on the relocation of Space Command

2 min read

Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), as well as other senators, have written to Frank Kendall, who is the Air Force Secretary, requesting that all operations connected to the move of U.S. Space Command from the Colorado Springs to the Huntsville area in Alabama, be halted.

In a letter to Kendall dated September 30, Bennet and many other Colorado lawmakers requested that “all actions related to relocating U.S. Space Command be paused until thorough evaluations by the Defense Department Inspector General and Government Accountability Office are finished,” citing “discrepancies of the selection procedure and the impacts on national security.”

SpaceNews got a copy of the letter. At U.S. representative Doug Lamborn’s (R-Colo) invitation, the Defense Department’s Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office are looking into the Air Force’s decision to base Space Command in the final days of the Trump administration.

Since the announcement, members of the state’s congressional delegation have fought back, arguing that the decision was completely political and not based on the objective criteria utilized by the Defense Department to choose basing locations. Bennet’s current letter to Kendall, who’s been in office from July, is his first direct contact with him.

In August, ex-President Donald Trump informed a radio host that he directly approved the command’s relocation from Colorado’s Peterson Space Force Base to the Alabama’s Redstone Arsenal. This contradicts assertions made by the Air Force that the selection procedure followed established criteria for military base decisions.

Kendall’s sole public comments on the subject came on August 24 at the Colorado Springs Space Symposium. Kendall responded to a reporter’s question regarding Trump’s remarks by saying, “President Trump said several, many things.”

He didn’t go into any further detail. Kendall stated of Redstone and Peterson, “I think any one of them is probably conceivable as the headquarters.” “Significant evidence remains that the prior president’s political concerns affected the ultimate decision to relocate U.S. Space Command headquarters,” Bennet writes to Kendall. We strongly urge you to halt any plans to transfer the headquarters until the Department of Defense Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office have concluded their respective examinations into the basing choice, and you have completed your review.”

The letter reaffirms Colorado lawmakers’ contention that the move was not only politically driven but also counterproductive, given that the majority of Space Command’s employees and industrial base are based in the state.

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