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'A wrong has been righted' retired U.S. Space Command Leader weighs in on basing decision

Posted at 5:24 PM, Aug 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-02 10:34:31-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Colorado Springs will remain the home of U.S. Space Command beyond 2026 after President Biden made the decision to keep the command in its current home.

It's a decision being praised by Colorado political and business leaders.

Among the supporters of the decision, is retired U.S. Space Command Commander General Ralph "Ed" Eberhart. Gen. Eberhart led the command before it was dissolved in 2002. Former President Donald Trump re-established the command in 2019.

Gen. Eberhart said the decision to remain in Colorado Springs, is the correct choice.

"The fact that it’s been here on and off since 1985, says something that Colorado Springs was a good custodian of U.S. Space Command,” Eberhart said.

Eberhart points to the importance of proximity with now two space force bases in the area, Peterson Space Force Base, where the command is based, and Schriever Space Force Base.

"There's a lot of benefit in that," Eberhart said, " I do think that mixture of the space contractors that we have here, coupled with the space force at Schriever and Peterson."

Before U.S. Space Command dissolved in 2002, it merged with U.S. Strategic Command, a decision Gen. Eberhart did not agree with at the time.

"I can't emphasize enough that was a mistake," Eberhart said.

There are financial impacts to keeping the command in Colorado Springs, some estimates in the billions of what it would cost to move the headquarters to Huntsville, Ala. where former Pres. Trump announced would be the permanent location until 2026, when Pres. Biden reversed Monday.

“I would say we haven’t reversed the decision, we’ve made the right decision,” Eberhart said.

Another concern for Eberhart, the impact on the continuity of the command, especially with emerging threats in space from places like Russia and China.

"I do think it’s important that this is not Huntsville versus Colorado Springs, this is not Alabama versus Colorado I think that this is about doing the right thing," Eberhart said.

RELATED:

Biden has decided to keep Space Command in Colorado, rejecting move to Alabama

U.S. Space Command to stay in Colorado Springs

President Joe Biden has decided to keep U.S. Space Command headquarters in Colorado, overturning a last-ditch decision by the Trump administration to move it to Alabama and ending months of politically fueled debate, according to senior U.S. officials.

The officials said Biden was convinced by the head of Space Command, Gen. James Dickinson, who argued that moving his headquarters now would jeopardize military readiness. Dickinson's view, however, was in contrast to Air Force leadership, who studied the issue at length and determined that relocating to Huntsville, Alabama, was the right move.

Proponents of keeping the command in Colorado have argued that moving it to Huntsville and creating a new headquarters would set back its progress at a time it needs to move quickly to be positioned to match China’s military space rise. Colorado Springs is also home to the Air Force Academy, which now graduates Space Force guardians, and more than 24 military space missions, including three Space Force bases.

Huntsville, however, scored higher than Colorado Springs in a Government Accountability Office assessment of potential locations and has long been a home to some of the earliest missiles used in the nation’s space programs, including the Saturn V rocket. It is home to the Army’s Space and Missile Defense Command.

According to officials, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall, who ordered his own review of the matter, leaned toward Huntsville, while Dickinson staunchly favored staying put. The officials said Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin presented both options to Biden.

Colorado and Alabama leaders react to U.S. Space Command relocation decision

Timeline of the U.S. Space Command decision

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