Investigation Launched Into Trump Decision To Move Space Command To Alabama

Congress Air Force GeneralCongress Air Force GeneralAP
In this image provided by the U.S. Army National Guard, U.S. Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten, left, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, visits the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command / Army Forces Strategic Command at Peterson Air Force Base and other local facilities in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Nov. 14, 2017, for an overview and to meet the Soldiers and civilians who support the USSTRATCOM mission. At center is his aide, Army Col. Kathryn Spletstoser. (Sgt. Zach Sheely/U.S. Army National Guard via AP)

The inspector general for the Department of Defense is investigating the Trump administration's last-minute decision to relocate U.S. Space Command from Colorado to Alabama.

Former President Donald Trump initially placed the command at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado — seen as a coup by Republican Sen. Cory Gardner, who was up for reelection. At a February 2020 campaign rally in Colorado Springs, the former president teased the crowd with the decision, deepening the link with the senator. But Gardner was washed out by voters in November, and Colorado overwhelmingly rejected Trump.

Days before the inauguration of a new president it was then announced that the command would move to Alabama, a decisively pro-Trump state.

Centennial State politicians from Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers up to the governor and the congressional delegation cried foul over a decision seen as political, not practical. A letter was later sent to the new Biden administration asking for reconsideration.

"It is imperative that we thoroughly review what I believe will prove to be a fundamentally flawed process that focused on bean-counting rather than American space dominance," said a statement from Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn, who represents the 5th District. "I have been in close contact with the Office of Inspector General and my colleagues on the Armed Services Committee about this matter, and have also requested the Government Accountability Office review the defective methodology behind this process."

The focus of the inspector general's office will be to see if the decision followed military policies, was objective in the ranking of the six locations under consideration and if costs were calculated properly and consistently. A joint statement from Democratic Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper said the pair are glad an investigation will dig into the "hastily-announced basing decision to move U.S. Space Command."

"Colorado is the epicenter of the national security space mission and has been performing the mission since the inception of Space Command in 1985," the statement continued. "Moving Space Command will disrupt the mission while risking our national security and economic vitality. Politics have no role to play in our national security."

The Polis administration praised the news of the IG review in a statement that thanked both Bennet and Hickenlooper and the "federal delegation for their efforts to restore integrity to the process."