“Locating Headquarters U.S. Space Command in Colorado Springs ultimately ensures peak readiness in the space domain for our nation during a critical period,” Pentagon spokesperson Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a statement. “It will also enable the command to most effectively plan, execute and integrate military space power into multi-domain global operations in order to deter aggression and defend national interests.” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall, and U.S. Space Command chief Gen. James Dickinson all support Biden’s decision, Ryder added.
The news, which was first reported by The Associated Press, brings to an end months of speculation about whether Biden would reverse Trump’s decision to move the command. The Air Force initially recommended the command stay in Colorado, but later selected Alabama after a high-level meeting at the White House in January 2021, during the final days of the Trump administration. Trump later credited himself for “single-handedly” putting the command in the red state.
Upon taking office, the Biden administration launched its own review of the decision. The Air Force was supposed to make a final determination by December, but a delay fueled months of political feuding. Members of the Colorado delegation claimed Trump decided to move the command to Alabama in order to reward a red state, while Alabama lawmakers said Biden was playing politics in holding up the decision.
Biden’s decision is sure to enrage Alabama lawmakers and fuel accusations that abortion politics played a role in the choice. The location debate has become entangled in the ongoing battle between Alabama Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville and the Defense Department over the move to provide travel for troops seeking reproductive health care. Tuberville opposed the policy is blocking hundreds of military promotions in protest.
The U.S. officials said the abortion issue had no effect at all on Biden’s decision. And they said the president fully expected there would be different views on the matter within the Defense Department.
Formally created in August 2019, the command was temporarily based in Colorado, and Air Force and Space Force leaders initially recommended it stay there. In the final days of his presidency Donald Trump decided it should be based in Huntsville.