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Buildings rise in a new office complex just outside the main gate of Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala. The complex is called Redstone Gateway and it features office buildings, lab and research space, stores, restaurants and hotels.
Buildings rise in a new office complex just outside the main gate of Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala. The complex is called Redstone Gateway and it features office buildings, lab and research space, stores, restaurants and hotels. (Lee Roop, al.com/TNS)

(Tribune News Service) — Two retired generals, including one with Alabama ties, have spoken out against the Air Force plan to make Redstone Arsenal the permanent home of the U.S. Space Command by arguing that it would cost billions and take years of risk to make the move to Huntsville.

The generals’ assessment apparently favors Colorado in that state’s ongoing attempt to overturn an Air Force site selection process that found Alabama the best place to locate the headquarters permanently. That comparison evaluated Colorado, Alabama and other finalist states Florida, Texas, New Mexico and Nebraska.

Retired Air Force Gen. Ed Eberhart and retired Army Lt. Gen. Ed Anderson “authored a paper aimed at their Pentagon brethren that makes the case that it’s far cheaper and much safer to keep the command” headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo., according to a July 4 report in the Colorado Springs Gazette.

Anderson is a former deputy commander the U.S. Space Command in its earlier incarnation. Eberhart’s career includes a stint as commanding officer of the Army Space and Missile Defense Command in Huntsville. The generals’ paper was not immediately available for review, and Eberhart and Anderson were not available for comment.

The newspaper reported both men saying it would cost more than $1.2 billion to move the headquarters from its location in Colorado Springs. It would also be safer to keep the headquarters close to the “bulk of the troops” who serve in the new Space Force under its command.

Space Command, which is different from the Space Force, was first created in 1985 to lead any fight against America’s enemies in space. The command was dissolved in 2002 and its missions meshed with another command. It was re-established in 2019 by former President Donald Trump, and that new lease on life triggered a headquarters competition based on rankings designed to take politics out of base selections.

Alabama came out ranked in the top third in the final competition in the categories of available and qualified workforce, nearness to mutually supporting space organizations, room for the 464,000 square-foot headquarters and 402,000 square-foot parking lot, security, available childcare, ability to absorb headquarters workers and their families in the local transportation system, one-time infrastructure costs, overall construction costs, and cost of quarters for 600 military personnel traveling with the command. The base covers more than 38,000 acres and was established during World War II to produce munitions including chemical agents for use against Germany.

Colorado has fought that decision since it was announced in January. State representatives claim that Trump ordered the command moved to Alabama for political reasons shortly after losing his bid for re-election. Alabama supported Trump for another term; Colorado did not.

The Air Force has maintained politics were not an issue and said the comparison ranking process was followed as required. The acting secretary of the Air Force in the Biden administration, John Roth, told a congressional committee in June, “I have personally no evidence that the decision was politically motivated.”

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