Alabama lawmakers seek to halt Space Command development in Colorado
(The Hill) – Alabama lawmakers are planning to introduce a provision in a major funding bill to halt new construction and leasing developments for U.S. Space Command (Spacecom) in Colorado as they fear a reversal of the planned relocation of the headquarters to their state.
A spokesperson for the office of Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) confirmed the provision would block the Biden administration from spending money on future developments of Spacecom’s temporary headquarters in Colorado Springs until an official decision is made on the relocation.
The language is still being drafted, according to the spokesperson, but lawmakers expect it to be included in the annual funding bill passed by the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Military Construction and Veterans Affairs.
NBC News, which first reported the details, said Alabama House representatives of both parties have backed the measure, including Democratic Rep. Terri Sewell.
According to NBC, Spacecom could be fully operational in Colorado by the end of the summer after expanding its presence there and leasing at least two buildings.
Spacecom commander Army Gen. James Dickinson has approved the spending on leases despite the planned relocation to Huntsville, Ala., NBC reported. That decision has come from Dickinson and not from other officials in the Biden administration.
Continued growth of Spacecom in Colorado could solidify the argument that relocating the headquarters would be time-consuming and expensive, a case Colorado lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have already made while advocating for Spacecom to remain in their state.
In a March letter to President Biden, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) said his state already has the infrastructure needed for Spacecom and has invested resources into the headquarters, warning a relocation could “threaten our national security and military readiness.”
“The financial cost of attempting to rebuild what Colorado has spent decades developing will require significant taxpayer dollars,” Polis wrote.
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, launched an investigation last week into the delay of the relocation of Spacecom, expressing concern about “changes” to the plan after meeting with Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall.
Kendall, whose department oversees Space Command, is also inquiring into the delayed relocation and is unaware of any official change to the plan to relocate to Huntsville, according to Rogers.
Former President Trump in 2019 announced a temporary headquarters for Spacecom at Peterson Space Force Base in Colorado with an eventual plan to relocate it to Huntsville, known as Rocket City for its history in developing space rockets.
The Biden administration, however, has launched reviews into Trump’s decision-making, and despite finding nothing improper behind the former president’s choice, has yet to move forward with concrete plans for relocation.
Alabama lawmakers have grown frustrated with the delays and have stepped up criticism after NBC News reported earlier this month that the state’s near-total abortion ban could result in a complete reversal of the relocation.