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Letter from Colorado Springs mayor details the fate of Space Command solely in former President Trump's hands

U.S. Space Command
Posted at 5:04 PM, Mar 24, 2023

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO — The debate surrounding the future of Space Command is currently taking place in Washington. Decisions made by Former President Donald Trump are still up in the air as local and state leaders call for another review of Space Commands relocation.

Donald Trump made the decision to move space command in the last week of his presidency before leaving office. A decision that some say appears to be a political one. News5 has obtained a letter from Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, to Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall detailing his conversations with the former president on the matter.

The letter begins, "While I am hardly an unbiased observer of the process, I do want to relate two conversations I had with former President Donald Trump that led me to conclude the President’s decision to move Space Command headquarters to Huntsville, Alabama was a wholly political one," says Suthers.

Based on the letter it appears over the course of two years, John Suthers spoke with President Trump on the matter a total of two times. Once when the president was in Colorado Springs speaking at the 2019 Air Force Academy Graduation and once again in 2020.

Both times the president expressed his intent on moving Space Command to Huntsville, Alabama.

The letter detailing the 2020 conversation states, "My wife Janet and I were both standing next to high-ranking Space Force officers. When I once again made my pitch to President Trump, he asked me if I was a Republican mayor. When I replied that I was, he asked what his chances were of carrying Colorado in the November election. When I said they were 'uncertain' he seemed perturbed. He then turned to the high-ranking officer in the Space Force and asked him, 'Is this where it should be?' The high-ranking officer replied, 'Absolutely, Mr. President.' The President then reiterated that he would make the decision and said it would be after the 2020 election. 'I want to see how it turns out,' he said" said Suthers.

The letter comes following the growing debate from Colorado Senators who are fighting to keep Space Command centered in Colorado Springs.

You can view Mayor John Suthers's full letter here.

On March 8th, 2023, U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper joined Colorado Governor Jared Polis, and leaders from across the state in urging President Biden to reaffirm Colorado’s position as the premier home for U.S. Space Command and to restore integrity to the basing decision process.

In a letter to President Biden they wrote, "In 2022, the Department of Defense Inspector General (DoD IG) and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released two reports on the flawed USSPACECOM basing action. These reports asserted that the Department of the Air Force used an untested process which lacked transparency and credibility. The reports identified Colorado Springs as the preferred location based on the best military judgment of our nation’s most senior national security space leaders, as well as the inclusion of “Mission Impacts to Full Operational Capability (FOC)” as a decision factor. In fact, the USSPACECOM Commander expected Colorado Springs to achieve FOC approximately 4 to 6 years sooner than other candidates. It was only after the January 11, 2021 meeting with the White House that the basing office was directed to change the preferred recommendation."

The report in question was released on May 11, 2022, and can be viewed here. The report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) calling on more transparency and further review can be viewed here.
 
While no decision on the matter has been made the ramifications of Space Command leaving Colorado would and will be significant. Economically Space Command looks to bring in between $500 million to $1 billion economically.

Space Command would see the housing of 1400 active duty members, plus continued military construction projects, and expansion in the Colorado Springs area.

While President Biden has reportedly expressed interest in overturning the Trump-era decision, no formal announcement has been made.
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