By TODD STACY, Alabama Daily News
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – A new report from the Department of Defense Inspector General affirms the Air Force’s 2021 decision to locate the U.S. Space Command Headquarters in Huntsville.
After evaluating the selection process, the IG found that “the process Air Force officials used to select Huntsville, Alabama, as the preferred permanent location for the U.S. Space Command headquarters (USSPACECOM HQ) complied with law and policy, and was reasonable in identifying Huntsville as the preferred permanent location.”
In January 2021, Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett announced that Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal had been selected as the permanent headquarters of the U.S. Space Command. The command directs military space operations, from communications and intelligence gathering to missile defense and radar.
The report prompted celebratory statements from Alabama officials eager to lock in Huntsville’s next gem in its crown.
Republican U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville, who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the report shows the decision was “rock solid.”
“For more than a year the IG conducted an audit of the Air Force’s work,” Tuberville said. “I’m pleased that, after this extensive evaluation, the IG confirmed that the basing process complied with the law and that the decision was based on objective factors. The prior administration followed the rules to make the best decision for the warfighter: SPACECOM should be in Huntsville.”
Congressman Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville, said “the road to Space Force runs through Alabama and the Tennessee Valley.”
“It is in the best interest of our national security for Redstone Arsenal to host SPACECOM HQ. I welcome the findings of this report and will continue to do all I can to ensure this decision holds. This I.G. Report is yet another major victory for Redstone Arsenal, the Tennessee Valley, and all of Alabama.”
Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth, who chairs the Alabama Military Stability Commission, said the state has worked hard to make Alabama as friendly as possible for military families, which factors in to military location decisions.
“From professional licensing reciprocity to school choice options to access to well-paying, long-lasting 21st Century jobs, Alabama is continuing to fill the needs of service members and their dependents,” Ainsworth said.
The decision to locate the permanent headquarters in Alabama angered officials in Colorado, where the temporary Space Command headquarters is located. Colorado Springs was also considered by the Air Force as a permanent location.
Colorado lawmakers, including Democratic Sen. Michael Bennett, vehemently protested the decision, calling it politically motivated by the Trump administration. Last month, Bennett claimed an yet-to-be published Government Accountability Office report confirmed their suspicions that former President Donald Trump improperly influenced the Air Force’s decision.
“Colorado is the most strategic choice for Space Command’s permanent home,” Bennet, D-Colo., said in March. “We should not be wasting time, money or resources on moving Space Command from Colorado to Alabama.”
The GAO report is expected to be published in the coming days.