COLORADO SPRINGS — During a stop on Fort Carson where First Lady Dr. Jill Biden was speaking to military spouses, Colorado Springs Republican Congressman Doug Lamborn answered some of my questions about the status of the tentative decision to move U.S. Space Command from Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs to Huntsville, Alabama.
First, he said that he believes there is a lull right now in the process for a couple of reasons. The Biden administration is slowly ramping up on a number of issues on their plate right now as they move past the first one hundred days in office, including responding to multiple requests from lawmakers and civic leaders up and down the front range, to reconsider the move. The objections are over the last-minute decision by former President Donald Trump to award U.S. Space Command to Alabama. Leaders in Colorado called the move politically motivated and not fact-based information. Congressman Lamborn also said that an environmental impact study needs to be conducted in Alabama before any move would be undertaken, and that could take a couple of years.
However, he told me that right now, there are two independent investigations being conducted by the General Accounting Office and the Inspector General to determine the facts and the motivation behind the former President's decision. They intend to revisit all the data that went into the decision, which was a stark reversal to what most considered a slam dunk for Colorado, Colorado Springs, and Peterson Air Force Base. Congressman Lamborn believes that if you take in just the cost to move alone, it will cost the federal government, easily, a billion dollars over time, saying "The facts and the equities are on our side, and the right decision is to put the headquarters right here, it's gonna cost more and be disruptive and it work as good when it's all done to put it somewhere else and I think that is going to come to light."
Congressman Lamborn sits on the House Armed Services Committee, which held hearings just last week with General James Dickinson, the head of U.S. Space Command, who emphasized some of the issues related to the move, most notably some of the upgrades that would be required, including an expensive secure communications network to connect headquarters to the Pentagon and other installations. At the end of the day, General Dickinson can make recommendations about the pluses and minuses of the move, but it is up to the President and the Secretary of Defense to sign off on where it is located.
For now, Space Command will remain in Colorado Springs for at least the next four years. Congressman Lamborn is hopeful that the decision will be reversed, but there are no guarantees in this high-stakes game of national security and politics.