U.S. Space Command battle takes political turn

U.S. Space Command battle takes political turn

Space Command was set to make its new home at the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama, a centre for developing and testing U.S. Army missile programs. It’s currently based at the Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The decision was announced in the middle of January 2021. At the time, the Department of Defense stated:

“Huntsville compared favourably 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. Additionally, Redstone Arsenal offered a facility to support the headquarters, at no cost, while the permanent facility is being constructed.”

Space Command – a unified combatant command of the United States Department of Defense – is held responsible for U.S. military operations in space. Created in 1985

Trump effect

Now, however, that decision is being investigated by the Inspector General of The Department of Defense.

Reports, such as from the Associated Press and Space News, suggest political interference in the decision making process. Specifically, that Donald Trump, in his last days in office, influenced the moving of the site to Alabama on the basis of presidential voting results – as a state, Colorado switched from Republican to Democrat, and Alabama remained Republican.

A published memo (Project No. D2021-DEV0SO-0099.000) states that the Inspector General’s office will begin an evaluation of the Air Force Selection Process to determine the location of the U.S. Space Command Headquarters.

Specifically, they will evaluate the extent to which the Department of the Air Force complied with DoD and Air Force policies during the location selection process. The extent to which they used objective and relevant scoring factors to rank the six candidate locations. And, finally, how they calculated the cost and other scoring factors accurately and consistently among the six
candidate locations.

“We may revise the objective as the evaluation proceeds, and we will also consider,” the memo declares. It is signed by Randolph R. Stone Assistant Inspector General for Evaluations Space, Intelligence, Engineering, and Oversight.

You can read the text of this document online.

Note that the final decision, expected to be made in spring 2023, would still be dependant on the results from a required environmental impact analysis.

See also: Sweet Home Alabama, sings U.S. Space Command

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