Alabama was chosen as a provisional site to host Space Command headquarters, sparking immediate blowback from lawmakers in Colorado who claimed choosing the deep south state was a political move.
They are urging President-elect Joe Biden, who takes office Jan. 20, to review it.
The secretary of the Air Force selected Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala., as the “preferred” location for the headquarters over the other five finalists, including Colorado Springs, Colo., which currently serves as temporary headquarters for the command.
Huntsville provides “a large, qualified workforce, quality schools, superior infrastructure capacity, and low initial and recurring costs. Additionally, Redstone Arsenal offered a facility to support the headquarters, at no cost, while the permanent facility is being constructed,” the Air Force said in a statement on Wednesday.
Other finalists included Albuquerque, N.M., Bellevue, Kan., Cape Canaveral, Fla., and San Antonio, Texas.
A final decision is expected in spring of 2023.
At stake are the 1,600 jobs that come with the headquarters.
Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) called the Alabama decision “foolish.”
“Moving a critical institution like Space Command for political reasons unrelated to national security would be foolish at the best of times,” Lamborn said in a letter to Biden. “This decision was not based on what is best for America’s national interests.”
“This last-minute decision, based entirely on political expediency, will devastate our space capabilities,” Lamborn warned. “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.”
Democrat Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper of Colorado also weighed in saying they will “ensure the Biden administration reviews this purported decision.”
Mayor John Suthers of Colorado Springs, said at a press conference that the decision was based on politics and he suggested it was a reward for newly elected Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville for challenging the Electoral College results on Jan. 6, the Denver Post reported.
Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) acknowledged that Biden and a Democratic-controlled Congress could reverse the decision.
“I must add a cautionary note. Today’s announcement is akin to a business acquisition’s ‘letter of intent.’ Due diligence (such as environmental impact statements) will be conducted over the next two years to ensure there are no unexpected barriers to Space Command HQ’s location at Redstone Arsenal,” Brooks said in a statement, according to AL.com.
He added that partisan politics should not play a role in where the headquarters eventually land.
The temporary headquarters in Colorado Springs are expected to remain there for the next six years until a final decision is made and a new facility is built.
Alabama chosen as provisional site to host Space Command HQ The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ New York Post.