Watchdog report says Trump-era Space Command decision failed to respect transparency

Space Command is the nation’s newest war combatant command, responsible for all military operations in space. The location of its headquarters has been the subject of intense debate since the final days of the Trump presidency, when the administration recommended moving it from Peterson Space Force Base in Colorado Springs to Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville. , Alabama.

“Each of the senior military officials we interviewed stressed the importance of U.S. Space Command reaching full operational capability as soon as possible in order to counter national security threats and noted that the potential need to move personnel was a associated risk,” according to the report. . But the unclassified version of the GAO report that was made public did not weigh in on whether the proposed relocation should be reversed. Instead, the report simply recommends “that the Air Force develop guidance for future strategic base decisions.”

The GAO review and a separate investigation by the Pentagon’s inspector general was requested in February 2021 by Colorado lawmakers who argued that the decision to move Space Command’s headquarters was politically motivated and posed a risk to the national security.

“Over the past year, we have repeatedly raised concerns that the previous administration used a flawed, untested and inconsistent process to select a location for US Space Command. The reports of the Government Accountability Office and the Inspector General of the Department of Defense both confirm that the founding process lacked integrity and overlooked key national security considerations,” said U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper and Representatives Doug Lamborn and Jason Crow of Colorado in a joint statement.

But the Pentagon’s inspector general concluded that the basic decision “conformed to federal law and DOD policy and that the process was reasonable,” prompting Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama to accuse the Colorado lawmakers to suffer from “bad loser syndrome”.

“At this point, the biggest impediment to SPACECOM is political inertia and sore loser syndrome, each to the detriment of US military effectiveness. It’s time we accepted the Air Force’s decision and moved forward. together,” Tuberville said.

Colorado lawmakers are still urging the Biden administration to reconsider. At a hearing last month, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said “we all hope to move forward with a final decision as quickly as possible.”

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