WASHINGTON, D.C., May 15, 2023 — U.S. Senator Katie Britt (R-Ala.), the ranking member of the Homeland Security Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, today released a statement reacting to an NBC News report indicating that President Biden is preparing to reverse the Air Force’s decision to name Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama, as the permanent location for the headquarters of U.S. Space Command.
The NBC report makes clear that President Biden’s decision-making is politically motivated. Senator Britt reiterated her longstanding public stance that Redstone remains the best permanent HQ location for Space Command to advance America’s vital national security interests, which the NBC report corroborated.
“President Biden’s plans would irresponsibly yank a military decision out of the Air Force’s hands in the name of partisan politics,” said Senator Katie Britt. “Huntsville finished first in both the Air Force’s Evaluation Phase and Selection Phase, leaving no doubt that the Air Force’s decision to choose Redstone as the preferred basing location was correct purely on the merits. That decision should remain in the Air Force’s purview. Instead, President Biden is now trying to hand the Gold Medal to the fifth-place finisher. The President’s blatant prioritization of partisan political considerations at the expense of our national security, military modernization, and force readiness is a disservice and a dishonor to his oath of office as our nation’s Commander-in-Chief. Locating the permanent Space Command Headquarters on Redstone Arsenal undoubtedly remains in the best national security interest of the United States. President Biden should allow the Air Force to proceed with doing its job. Alabama’s world-class aerospace and defense workforce, capabilities, and synergies stand ready to fulfill the mission and strengthen our national security long into the future.”
Key excerpts from the NBC report follow:
“[T]wo previous, extensive reviews that took place after President Joe Biden took office that found there was no improper political influence on the process that awarded the headquarters to Alabama.”
“Colorado Springs was among the locations considered for a permanent Spacecom headquarters. But U.S. officials said Colorado did not come close to Alabama as a preferred location when the military conducted its search.”
“[O]ther U.S. officials said the decision was out of the Air Force’s hands.
‘This is all about abortion politics,’ a second U.S. official said. ‘This normally would not be a political decision.’”
News media reports confirm that a U.S. Government Accountability Office report dated May 2022 stated, “Air Force analysis identified Redstone Arsenal as the highest scoring location in the Evaluation Phase, the highest ranked location in the Selection Phase, and the location with the most advantages in the decision matrix. Air Force officials, including the then Secretary of the Air Force, stated that the decision to identify Redstone Arsenal as the preferred location stemmed from Air Force analysis showing it was the strongest candidate location.”
The same report said Air Force documentation from January 2021 affirmed that “Redstone Arsenal rated the best of the six candidate locations based on the criteria and noted that selecting Peterson Air Force Base as the preferred location would not align with the results of Air Force Selection Phase analysis.”
“[T]he January 2021 selection of Redstone Arsenal as the preferred location for U.S. Space Command headquarters was consistent with the Air Force’s analysis,” the GAO added. “Multiple senior officials we interviewed stated that they felt the process was unbiased, including the former Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Energy; the former Secretary of the Air Force; the former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; the U.S. Space Command Combatant Commander; and the U.S. Space Force Chief of Space Operations.”
Finally, per the GAO, “[T]he Air Force identified the ability to disperse combatant commands geographically as supporting its decision, and Air Force officials told us that they considered risk related to colocating U.S. Space Command and U.S. Northern Command at Peterson Air Force Base as a military judgement issue. The Air Force considered dispersing combatant commands in different geographic areas as a strategic advantage, and a way to avoid placing two combatant commands at risk from the same threat.”
In addition to the GAO report, the Air Force’s decision to locate the permanent Space Command HQ on Redstone Arsenal has been cleared by a Department of Defense Inspector General evaluation and has completed an environmental review.