- Controversial decision announced one week before Trump left office
- Colorado’s leaders says comments confirm that political factors, not merit, led to decision
- Two separate government investigations continue into move
by Douglas Messier
Former president Donald Trump claimed on Friday to have “single-handedly” moved the U.S. Space Command from Colorado to Alabama, adding fuel to the political firestorm that erupted over the controversial decision earlier this year.
“Space Force — I sent to Alabama,” Trump said. “I hope you know that. (They) said they were looking for a home and I single-handedly said, ‘Let’s go to Alabama.’ They wanted it. I said, ‘Let’s go to Alabama. I love Alabama,” Trump told the Alabama-based Rick & Bubba radio program.
Trump made the claim on the eve of a rally he held in Cullman, Ala., on Saturday night.
On Jan. 13, the U.S. Air Force announced the selection of the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville to become the permanent home of the command beginning in spring 2023. U.S. Space Command is currently headquartered at Peterson Space Force Base in Colorado.
Pentagon officials defended the decision as being made on merit after a non-partisan evaluation of six locations. Redstone Arsenal beat out Peterson, Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, Patrick Space Force Station in Florida, Port San Antonio in Texas and Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.
Colorado state officials and its Congressional delegation have been fighting to keep the command at Peterson. Governor Jared Polis and Lt. Governor Dianne Primavera released a joint statement after Trump’s comments.
Colorado is the natural home for Space Command. These callous comments fly in the face of Coloradans, military families, and those who have worked to cultivate our aerospace ecosystem that is suited to guarantee the operational success of U.S. Space Command and deliver the best value to taxpayers. Keeping U.S. Space Command in Colorado means protecting our national security but it’s clear that the former President – now through his own admission – made this misguided decision for political or personal purposes. Unfortunately, this poor decision could cost taxpayers billions of dollars, hurt military readiness, and would be fiscally irresponsible. We urge the federal government to truly restore integrity to the process.
Officials have argued that Colorado is already the leader in national security space. The state is home to Schriever Space Force Base, Cheyenne Mountain Space Force Station, four of the nation’s six Space Wings, the U.S. Army’s Space Brigade, and the NORAD/NORTHCOM headquarters.
Trump’s comments could impact ongoing investigations into the decision by the Pentagon’s Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office.