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Alabama announced as permanent US Space Command headquarters

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Posted at 11:51 AM, Jan 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-14 09:26:49-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama, has been selected as the preferred permanent headquarters for U.S. Space Command, according to a release from the U.S. Air Force.

Colorado Springs was named as one of six finalists in mid-November after the U.S. Air Force spent months of evaluation considering over 40 communities.

The Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC stated in a release that while this announcement concludes the evaluation process that has been underway since late 2018, it will continue to work with state and federal leaders to "encourage the incoming Biden administration to accept the U.S. Air Force's recommendation."

"During the past four weeks the U.S. Air Force conducted two site visits, virtually and on-the-ground, and a virtual community engagement to measure Peterson Air Force Base’s infrastructure and community assets, and to fulfill its responsibility to recommend the best site for USSPACECOM," the release stated. "Sources at the White House and the Air Force have confirmed the Air Force’s site selection team recommended the permanent headquarters be located at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs. President Trump ignored their recommendation and selected Redstone Arsenal."

The push to make Colorado Springs the permanent home of U.S. Space Command started in early 2020 with Peterson Air Force Base being named the provisional headquarters in mid-May 2020 for at least six years. The hope of Space Command making Colorado Springs its permanent home was bringing many jobs to the area and boosting the economy.

“I am extremely disappointed by this development,” Mayor John Suthers said in a release. “...We made an extremely strong case for the city, and we had every indication that the Air Force was impressed by the community commitments we made in support of Space Command's future. My concern is that politics played a significant role in this result. It would be wholly appropriate, and we would request, that Congress and the Biden administration direct the U.S. Air Force to provide full details regarding the recommendations it made and make public the role President Trump played in this decision."

According to a release from the U.S. Air Force, the Secretary of the Air Force selected Huntsville as the preferred permanent location due to it being more favorable by "providing a large, qualified workforce, quality schools, superior infrastructure capacity, and low initial and recurring costs."

Air Force officials also said Redstone Arsenal was able to offer a facility to support the headquarters at no cost while the permanent facility is being constructed.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and Lt. Governor released a statement shortly after learning of the announcement.

“Colorado’s proud military heritage, unparalleled aerospace ecosystem, and unmatched quality of life for our service members and their families make us the epicenter of national security space and the only permanent home for U.S. Space Command. Reports that the in-depth military process found Colorado Springs to be the best location for military readiness and cost and recommended Colorado to the President only to be overruled for politically motivated reasons are deeply concerning. This move threatens jobs, could cause serious economic damage, and upend the lives of hundreds of military and civilian families that were counting on U.S Space Command staying at home in Colorado Springs as well as harm military readiness. It would negatively impact the mission which Colorado Springs has been flawlessly executing, ensuring our national security in the space domain. This misguided decision would cost American taxpayers potentially billions of dollars and would be fiscally irresponsible if it is allowed to stand. We pledge to work with our federal delegation to restore integrity to the process as it unfolds. The work of so many partners in Colorado Springs and across the state has been critical to the shared effort to keep U.S. Space Command in Colorado, and we are grateful for their partnership.”

Reggie Ash, the chief defense development officer for the Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC, said it has brought a big boost to the local economy with Space Command's provisional headquarters at Peterson.

News5's Rob Quirk spoke with the commander of U.S. Space Command earlier this month. While it may not seem that obvious, General James Dickinson told us that Space Command's mission is so much more than just military operations, what happens in space, and the hardware that continues to crowd it is relevant to virtually everything we do here on earth.

"We're so dependent on the space domain in everything we do every day from going to the gas station, going to the ATM machine, going to the grocery store, going to the doctor, all of those functions or activities that we perform as citizens are reliant upon space and we need to have that unfettered access to our space capabilities that really drives our economy, the United States prosperity," Dickinson said.

The other finalists being considered for Space Command's headquarters included Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, Joint Base, San Antonio, and Offutt Air Base, Nebraska.

The Department of the Air Force anticipates making a final decision for the location of U.S. Space Command Headquarters in spring 2023, pending the results from the required environmental impact analysis.

RELATED:
Peterson AFB named provisional U.S. Space Command headquarters
Colorado Springs named as finalist for permanent US Space Command headquarters
Rob Quirk goes 'One-on-One' with the commander of U.S. Space Command
Pentagon team tours Peterson AFB as decision on US Space Command location looms
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