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Acting Secretary of the Air Force defends decision to move Space Command after opposition

Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 10:02 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The news back in January shook the Rocket City in a good way; that Redstone Arsenal was chosen as the future site of the U.S. Space Command Headquarters.

But it’s come with some controversy, with some questioning if the decision was fair and free from political influence.

Acting Secretary John Roth says he stands by the decision made under the previous secretary while President Trump was in office.

But lawmakers in Colorado, where HQ is currently located, are fighting to keep Space Command from moving here.

Before a congressional committee, Colorado U.S. Representative Doug Lamborn pleaded his case, saying that U.S. Space Command should keep its roots in Colorado Springs.

“Ripping the command away from operations and moving it a thousand miles away makes no military sense. Our understanding is that this was a political decision made by the last administration, and the Air Force, while initially selecting Colorado Springs, had to go back and scramble to justify a different siding decision,” Lamborn said.

He argued the move is more costly to taxpayers, who have already poured a lot of resources into the Colorado Springs operation.

“How seriously should we view a process that did not consider the cost and attrition rate of moving civilians, the survivable communications requirement and using existing infrastructure among many other significant flaws?” he asked.

Acting Air Force Secretary John Roth says the process of selecting the Rocket City was a strategic and transparent one.

“We were going to have to build a building whether it was in Colorado Springs or Huntsville. It turns out the basic construction cost and the maintain maintenance costs and the like in Huntsville was significantly less than Colorado springs. I have personally no evidence that the decision was politically motivated,” Roth explained.

And Huntsville Attorney and NASA Advisory member Mark McDaniel agrees.

“This was a very, very strict analysis that was done by the department of the Air Force,” McDaniel said.

McDaniel says political in-fighting after a major decision like this one was expected, and that he thinks the decision to move Space Command to Huntsville was the right one.

“Anytime you make a decision this big in government, you know there’s going to be pushback, ok? So you cross all the t’s and dot all the I’s,” he explained.

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