Colorado senators keep up the push to keep the Space Command headquarters in Colorado Springs

Space Force National Guard
Noah Berger/AP Photo
An Air Force specialist salutes in a U.S. Space Force uniform during a ceremony for U.S. Air Force airmen transitioning to U.S. Space Force guardian designations Feb. 12, 2021, at Travis Air Force Base in California. About 1,000 Air National Guard troops who are assigned to space missions are mired in an identity crisis. According to commanders, the troops’ units are torn between the Air Force, where they’ve historically been assigned, and the military’s shiny new Space Force, where they now work.

Colorado Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper continue to press the case that Space Command Headquarters should remain in Colorado Springs, where it could reach full operational capability faster than moving to Alabama.

The two Democrats have sent a letter to Air Force Sec. Frank Kendall “to reiterate our concerns about the ongoing U.S. Space Command (USSPACECOM) basing process and urge you to consider critical cost and national security factors as you review Space Command’s pathway to Full Operational Capability (FOC), prior to the issuance of a final decision.”

The letter stresses the findings of two reports that showed Petersen Space Force Base in Colorado Springs was the preferred choice of military leadership and that consideration of FOC was not fully taken into account when the Trump admin announced Alabama as the preferred location.

They stress that renovating a building at Petersen would help Space Command reach full operational capability faster and that Kendall should “account for the national security cost, with respect to both time and money” if the Air Force does not prioritize the fastest route to full operational capability.

A final decision on the Command location is expected this fall. Bennet and Hickenlooper have also requested a briefing on Kendall’s “review prior to any final decision to understand how the Air Force has accounted for critical national security and cost implications.”

The Colorado Congressional delegation has been working in a bipartisan manner to keep the headquarters in Colorado. 

Bennet tweeted in early September that he spoke with President Joe Biden about keeping Space Command headquarters in Colorado. And in August, all members of the congressional delegation submitted a joint comment as part of the comment and review period for the Draft Environmental Assessment, the last step to a final basing decision.

The Trump administration’s decision to move the command to Alabama from Colorado — a decision announced a week before leaving office — has embroiled the basing decision in political controversy.

Air Force leaders recommended keeping the base in Colorado. However, former President Donald Trump told a syndicated radio show later that he was “single-handedly” responsible for the headquarters decision. A GAO report offered conflicting views on who made the ultimate decision to move the headquarters to Alabama.

“The Air Force must assure Congress and the American people that the final decision is rooted in defensible evidence,” Bennet and Hickenlooper write.