By TODD STACY, Alabama Daily News
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said he and his administration are “very confident” the U.S. Space Command is coming to Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal despite the back-and-fourth between the Colorado and Alabama congressional delegations over the move.
Last year, the U.S. Air Force announced it was relocating its U.S. Space Command headquarters from Colorado Springs to Huntsville, sparking excitement in Alabama officials and resentment among those in Colorado. A subsequent U.S. Government Accountability Office report showed the decision was “consistent with the Air Force’s analysis” that the Huntsville location was the highest scoring option.
That hasn’t stopped Colorado lawmakers from continuing their protest of the decision, to the point of calling on President Joe Biden to reverse it.
Battle, who has been in the thick of the conversations surrounding Space Command, said the relocation is going to happen.
“We feel very confident with it,” Battle said on Alabama Public Television’s Capitol Journal. “It’s one of those things. Colorado Springs — we understand their anguish over this — but we’re still going to be working with Colorado Springs. There’s a couple of commands that we share with them. We’ll still be sharing with them when Space Command comes in.”
Asked about how Huntsville’s quality of life played as a factor in the decision, Battle said it goes beyond that.
“It comes down to the quality of life,” Battle said. “It comes down to the cost of living. It comes to who has a better engineering base. We have more engineers per capita than anywhere else in the U.S. It comes down to who has the research park and is able to do the research and development on it.
“It comes down to the idea of cost efficiency. A classic example is the FBI is going to move FBI personnel down to Redstone Arsenal. They’re getting the same paycheck here that they get in Washington, D.C. and their paycheck goes a lot further here. There’s housing prices. If you compare the housing prices to somebody on the east and west coast coming here, they’re probably getting two times the house for the amount of money that they’d be spending on the east and west coast. All of those factors come together.”
Battle said he believes his city is best suited to make Space Command successful in its mission for the country.
“Huntsville will be the best place for Space Command to be,” Battle said. “We wouldn’t have been competing for it if we didn’t think it was very valuable, that we could do a good job with it, and by doing a good job with it doing a good job for the nation, and that was one of the most important things to look at.”