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Alabama leaders call for investigations, public hearing on Space Command decision

Alabama elected officials are continuing calls for multiple federal investigations into President Joe Biden’s reversal of an earlier decision to make Huntsville the permanent home of the U.S. Space Command headquarters.

And one is using his powerful committee chairmanship to publicly question key players in the decision.

U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Saks, asked the Government Accountability Office to investigate the basing process of the headquarters, specifically what happened between the office’s June 2022 report, which said Huntsville was the preferred location, and Biden’s late July decision to keep the headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo.

“National security decisions of this magnitude and significant economic interest require the process to be standardized, repeatable, transparent, and deliberate,” Rogers, chair of the House Armed Services Committee, wrote. “Based on numerous administration officials talking to the press, the decision by President Biden appears to be anything but.

“Preferential decision-making by the president because of certain state laws has widely been publicized as a major factor but was never included in the basing requirements.” 

Entangled in the base decision is Alabama’s near total ban on abortions and U.S Senator Tommy Tuberville’s delay of military promotions because of a Department of Defense policy that allows service members to be compensated for travel to states that allow abortion.

Earlier in the week, Rogers invited Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall, U.S. Space Command Commander General James Dickinson and Space Force Chief of Space Operations General Chance Saltzman to testify about “Biden’s politically motivated decision to locate the headquarters” in Colorado.

Earlier this month, Rogers and others in the congressional delegation pledged to use their various committee seats to reverse the president’s decision

“I wasn’t kidding when I said this is far from over,” U.S. Rep. Dale Strong, R-Huntsville, said this week. “I asked Chairman Rogers to hold a hearing, and now it’s time for these leaders to answer questions under oath. The findings of the robust basing process were completely ignored when the fifth best location in Colorado was chosen to host the Space Command headquarters.” 

A date for the hearing in Rogers’ committee has not been set.

The decision to move the installation from Colorado Springs to a permanent home Huntsville was made in early 2021 when the Air Force said the Rocket City “compared favorably across more of these factors than any other community, providing a large, qualified workforce, quality schools, superior infrastructure capacity, and low initial and recurring costs.”

Colorado Springs ranked fifth.

The Associated Press reported last month Biden was convinced by Dickinson, the current Space Command leader, that moving the headquarters now would jeopardize military readiness.

Alabama’s delegation has noted in recent weeks that Dickinson is from Colorado and is retiring not far from the Colorado Springs site.

Last week, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall cited Dickinson’s recent purchase of a $1.5 million, 20-acre ranch in a letter to the Department of Defense’s Inspector General requesting an investigation.

According to delegation members, including Strong, Dickinson had previously said the headquarters belongs in Alabama.

“I implore the Inspector General to investigate the oddly timed investment by General Dickinson which coincided with his recommendation against the Air Force’s preferred site in Huntsville,” Marshall wrote. “And I will continue to use the unique power of my office to hold President Biden accountable and demand transparency into this politically motivated charade.”

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