The administration of former President Donald Trump created a new branch of the military called “Space Force” in 2018. The headquarters of U.S. Space Command was established in Colorado Springs on a temporary basis until an official home was found, and Colorado politicians lobbied hard for the HQ to remain in our state. But in a late 2020 decision that appeared to be a purely political move — speculation that was confirmed by Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers — Trump announced that he had “single-handedly” decided to establish the Space Command HQ in Huntsville, Alabama instead of Colorado.
However…a report from NBC News earlier this week is giving Colorado new hope that U.S. Space Command will remain in Colorado permanently:
Some defense and congressional officials believe the White House is laying the groundwork to halt plans to move U.S. Space Command’s headquarters to Alabama in part because of concerns about the state’s restrictive abortion law, according to two U.S. officials and one U.S. defense official familiar with the discussions…
…The White House directed the Air Force last December to conduct a review of the process that led to the Trump administration’s decision to move Space Command’s headquarters from Colorado to Huntsville, Alabama. The review was ordered up in the months after Alabama’s law banning nearly all abortions, including in cases of rape and incest, went into effect last summer. The law is considered among the most restrictive in the U.S.
While abortion rights may be playing some role in the decision to keep Space Command in Colorado, it’s certainly not the only reason:
Biden administration officials have signaled privately to Pentagon officials and lawmakers that they’re looking to reverse the Alabama decision over concerns about operational disruptions that moving Spacecom’s headquarters, which is currently located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, could bring. [Pols emphasis]
The White House said Alabama’s abortion ban was not a factor in its ongoing review of the decision to build Spacecom’s permanent headquarters there. A White House official said that access to reproductive health care does not weigh in to making the decision about location.
Alabama Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville might also be a problem for that state’s hopes of landing Spacecom. “He’s not helping,” as one official told NBC News.
Tuberville has been blocking military promotions for months because he is apparently a craven racist. As The Associated Press reported last week:
Tuberville is facing backlash for remarks he made about white nationalists in the armed forces in an interview about his blocking of military nominees…
…The first-term senator from Alabama made his initial remarks in an interview last week with WBHM, an NPR affiliate. He suggested that the Biden administration’s efforts to expand diversity in the military were weakening the force and hampering recruitment, though the Army has said that the real problem is that many young people do not see enlistment as safe or a good career path.
“We are losing in the military so fast. Our readiness in terms of recruitment,” Tuberville said, according to the station’s transcript of the May 4 interview. “And why? I’ll tell you why. Because the Democrats are attacking our military, saying we need to get out the white extremists, the white nationalists, people that don’t believe in our agenda.”
When asked if he believed white nationalists should be allowed in the U.S. military, Tuberville responded, “Well, they call them that. I call them Americans.” [Pols emphasis]
According the POLITICO, there is no looming announcement about the future plans for Spacecom. The Air Force has yet to make a recommendation to the National Security Council for the location of Spacecom.
Colorado Senator John Hickenlooper (D-Denver) and Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) both told KRDO-TV in Colorado Springs that they do not believe a final decision is imminent. Colorado’s Congressional delegation has generally been on the same page in fighting for Spacecom to remain in Colorado Springs.