United States Space Command will stay in Colorado permanently and not relocate to Alabama following a new decision from the Biden Administration.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall, and U.S. Space Command commander General James Dickinson all support the decision made by President Joe Biden, according to the Pentagon.
“From the start, DoD and the Department of the Air Force have worked diligently to ensure the basing decision resulted from an objective and deliberate process informed by data and analysis, in compliance with federal law and DoD policy,” said Brigadier General Patrick Ryder in a statement on July 31.
Ryder said Space Command’s Colorado Springs location “ultimately ensures peak readiness in the space domain for our nation during a critical period.”
“It will also enable the command to most effectively plan, execute and integrate military spacepower into multi-domain global operations in order to deter aggression and defend national interests,” he added.
The Biden administration’s decision overturns a previous decision from former President Donald Trump, who had proposed moving Space Command to Alabama.
Trump relaunched Space Command in 2019 “with the goal of improving the organization space operations across the U.S. military and to speed up technical developments,” reported CBS News. “The Pentagon had a U.S. Space Command from 1985 to 2002, but it was disbanded in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to focus on homeland defense.”
Days before the Trump administration departed the White House, Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett announced Space Command would relocate to Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal. The location was selected from locations in six different states after the Defense Department weighed infrastructure capacity, community support and costs. The decision would only become final after an environmental impact study was completed in the spring of 2023, per AP News.
In addition to the Colorado and Alabama locations, the federal government also considered Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, Port San Antonio in Texas and Patrick Air Force Base in Brevard County, Florida.
Political leaders in Alabama had celebrated Trump’s decision while Colorado Senator Michael Bennett demanded Biden review the decision after he took office. Congressman Mo Brooks, who represented Huntsville, said the relocation decision was “clearly in the long-term best interest of national security.”
“As I stated during a House Armed Services Committee, Strategic Forces Subcommittee hearing recently, I welcome an investigation concerning the location of Space Command H.Q,” Brooks said, per the Alabama Political Reporter. “If the investigation honestly portrays the Tennessee Valley’s strengths, Redstone Arsenal will do just fine. My only reservation is whether hyper-partisanship will blind the investigation to the merits of the Air Force’s decision. If hyper-partisanship rules as it did under the Obama-Biden Administration, Alabama and other red states will not fare well on Space Command H.Q. or any other major federal issue.”
Congresswoman Terri Sewell of Alabama said that “any review will show that Alabama was selected because its existing aerospace infrastructure, national security presence, and skilled workforce make it the ideal location to house the headquarters.”
In May of 2023, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey commended the Armed Services Committee for investigating the delay in announcing the finalized location of Space Command.
“Alabama is eager for our country to win the space race, not slow walk our way there. Let me repeat what everyone already knows: Alabama is the only rightful home for Space Command Headquarters, and supporting this mission is critical to the advancement of our national security,” Ivey said in a statement, per WHNT.
The Department of Defense announced in May of 2020 that Space Command would remain at Peterson Air Force Base at least through 2026. Colorado Governor Jared Polis had asked the federal government to consider making his state Space Command’s permanent home as Colorado has “a proud military community, a critical aerospace industry, an educated workforce, and prestigious research institutions,” per The Denver Post.