U.S. Space Command Gets New Headquarters in Alabama
WASHINGTON — The Secretary of the Air Force announced Wednesday that Huntsville, Ala., will be the new headquarters of the U.S. Space Command.
The announcement was welcomed in Alabama but criticized as an example of partisan politics by government officials in Colorado, where the Space Command currently is located.
A still unresolved question is whether the decision in the closing days of Donald Trump’s presidency will survive a new administration.
The Space Command oversees many wireless troop communications, watches for missile launches and administers global positioning satellites used for navigation.
It operates primarily in conjunction with the Air Force but is different from the U.S. Space Force, which is a separate military branch similar to the Army or Navy.
Since it was reorganized last year, the Space Command headquarters has operated on a provisional basis out of Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado.
The new site will be located adjacent to Huntsville at the expansive Redstone Arsenal, which opened during World War II as a chemical weapons production center. The U.S. military uses it now to make missiles and rockets. Huntsville’s nickname is Rocket City.
“The Department of the Air Force conducted both virtual and on-site visits to assess which of six candidate locations would be best suited to host the U.S. Space Command Headquarters…” an Air Force statement said.
It added, “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.”
A final decision on the new headquarters in Alabama still requires an environmental impact analysis, which is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2023. Until then, the temporary headquarters will stay in Colorado.
Alabama Republican Gov. Kay Ivey greeted the Air Force announcement with a statement saying, “I couldn’t be more pleased to learn that Alabama will be the new home to the United States Space Command. Our state has long provided exceptional support for our military and their families as well as a rich and storied history when it comes to space exploration.”
Her comment contrasted sharply with Colorado government officials.
“This move threatens jobs, could cause serious economic damage and upend the lives of hundreds of military and civilian families that were counting on U.S. Space Command staying at home in Colorado Springs…,” Democratic Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said in a statement.
A recent Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation analysis showed a permanent Space Command headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base would bring about 1,400 jobs to the area and have an economic impact of more than one billion dollars a year for Colorado.
Polis also called the decision to move the headquarters “politically motivated.”
Trump won a majority of the votes in Alabama during the presidential election in November. He lost to Joe Biden in the predominantly Democratic Colorado.
An Air Force spokesperson denied political favoritism after an inquiry from The Well News.
“Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Ala., was selected by the secretary of the Air Force to host the U.S. Space Command headquarters based on factors related to mission, infrastructure capacity, community support and cost to the Department of Defense,” the spokesperson said.
Biden has not yet made a statement on the Space Command’s headquarters. Nevertheless, the agency has occasionally faced questions in Congress since its original structure was organized in 1985 about whether it should operate as a separate agency.
The Reagan administration’s Defense Department said it could help protect American satellites against Soviet and Chinese weapons being developed to destroy them. The Space Command also was supposed to implement the Strategic Defense Initiative — sometimes called the Star Wars program — started by the Reagan administration.
After the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the United States, the armed forces turned its focus more on homeland defense and counter-terrorism. President George W. Bush de-emphasized the Space Command by merging it into other Air Force operations.
The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act reauthorized the Space Command as a separate unit of the U.S. Strategic Command.
Other finalists for the new headquarters included Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico; Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska; Patrick Air Force Base in Florida; and Port San Antonio in Texas.
In The News
WASHINGTON -- The war in Afghanistan is officially over but the terrorism threat to the United States continues, according to... Read More
WASHINGTON -- The war in Afghanistan is officially over but the terrorism threat to the United States continues, according to military commanders who testified to the U.S. Senate Tuesday. They acknowledged that the chaotic U.S. military withdrawal was disappointing after 20 years of war. A suicide... Read More
WASHINGTON -- Members of the House might not agree on much these days, but one thing they do seem to... Read More
WASHINGTON -- Members of the House might not agree on much these days, but one thing they do seem to be in agreement on is that passing the annual defense spending authorization falls into the same rarified category as mom and apple pie. On Thursday, the... Read More
BANGKOK (AP) — With increasingly strong talk in support of Taiwan, a new deal to supply Australia with nuclear submarines,... Read More
BANGKOK (AP) — With increasingly strong talk in support of Taiwan, a new deal to supply Australia with nuclear submarines, and the launch of a European strategy for greater engagement in the Indo-Pacific, the U.S. and its allies are becoming more assertive in their approach toward... Read More
WASHINGTON -- President Joe Biden spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday to discuss the United States' new strategic... Read More
WASHINGTON -- President Joe Biden spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday to discuss the United States' new strategic partnership with the U.K. and Australia. Australia is set to construct eight nuclear-powered submarines through its alliance with the U.S. and the U.K., dashing the country's... Read More
WASHINGTON -- The Blue Dog Coalition of House Democrats has endorsed a slate of amendments to the National Defense Authorization... Read More
WASHINGTON -- The Blue Dog Coalition of House Democrats has endorsed a slate of amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act. These amendments include measures that the Blue Dogs contend would strengthen support for U.S. service members as they transition to civilian life; counter the Chinese... Read More
HELSINKI, Finland (AP) — The top American military officer held talks Wednesday with his Russian counterpart as the United States... Read More
HELSINKI, Finland (AP) — The top American military officer held talks Wednesday with his Russian counterpart as the United States struggles to secure basing rights and other counterterrorism support in countries bordering Afghanistan — an effort Moscow has opposed. The six-hour meeting in Finland's capital between... Read More