Air Force secretary says Biden hasn’t taken over Space Command HQ site selection
al.com March 28, 2023
(Tribune News Service) — The secretary of the Air Force dismissed press reports Tuesday that President Biden has decided to pick the final Space Command headquarters site himself saying there is “no indication that the president is going to do anything” regarding the decision.
Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said the decision between Huntsville and Colorado Springs, Colo., had been “delegated to me and that’s where it stays today.”
Kendall was responding to questions from U.S Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala) during a budget heading before a House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. Aderholt sits on the subcommittee and full House Appropriations Committee.
“Mr. Secretary, let me address this to you,” Aderholt said. “There are some rumors out there that the president may overturn Space Command regarding the basing decision. I guess my question is what is your recommendation to the president and why would he [ President Biden] overturn that decision?”
“Congressman I have no indication that the president is going to do anything with regard to that decision. Secretary Austin delegated it to me and that’s where it stays today,” Kendall said.
When Aderholt asked his recommendation, Kendall said, “I haven’t made a recommendation; I haven’t made a decision. We’re still in the process of doing some analysis.”
A Washington Post report this week said Biden was on the verge of overturning the finding of a Pentagon site selection process that ranked Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal the best site for the command. “The White House appears ready to reverse a Trump administration plan to relocate the U.S. Space Command from Colorado Springs to Huntsville, Ala.,” Post national columnist David Ignatius wrote.
Ignatius said the president was preparing to stop the move after former President Trump claimed credit for the headquarters decision because Alabama supported his unsuccessful re-election bid. Ignatius said the White House also feared moving the headquarters would “disrupt operations at a time when space is increasingly important to the military.”
Redstone Arsenal came out on top of the site review process the Pentagon uses to take political maneuvering out of basing selections that can mean millions of dollars in ongoing revenue for the communities chosen. That process ranked Redstone above the current startup headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo., and above any of the other bases in contention.
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