Space Command general: ‘I need a decision’ on Alabama move
al.com March 4, 2022
(Tribune News Service) The U.S. Space Command’s commanding general told Congress this week he needs to know “sooner rather than later” if his command headquarters will be moving to Alabama.
“I’ve got to have a decision,” Space Command leader Gen. James Dickinson told a congressional military readiness hearing Tuesday.
The Air Force decided in 2021 to move the permanent headquarters of the new command and its 1,800-member headquarters staff from their current base in Colorado Springs, Colo., to a permanent base at Redstone Arsenal.
That decision came after an established, by-the-book comparison of Alabama and bases in multiple states on such matters as cost of living, room to expand on the base, security and ability to support the command staff’s needs.
The Pentagon designed the review procedure to prevent interstate fights like the current one between Colorado and Alabama over location of the headquarters. And Air Force documents leaked to AL.com showed Alabama ranked higher than Colorado in 11 of 21 comparisons including available and qualified workforce, nearness to supporting space organizations, room for the giant 464,000 Space Command headquarters building and one-time infrastructure and construction costs.
But former President Trump gave Colorado ammunition for its base decision challenge in 2021 when he told the syndicated Alabama radio show “Rick & Bubba” that he “single-handedly” made the call to move the headquarters to Redstone. Dickinson told Congress this week he just needs a final decision.
“Where I see it right now is I’m looking forward to the results and conclusion of both the (Department of Defense) and the (Inspector General) evaluations…,” Dickinson said. “Those two assessments, I’m confident they’ll be done soon.” Dickinson said he’ll be ready “whenever that might come.” He added for emphasis, “So for me, it’s all about the decision. I’ve got to have a decision.”
“Once I have a decision,” Dickinson said, “I can do the appropriate planning and make sure I’ve got the right types of people in the organization.”
Dickinson explained his “got to have a decision” comment by referring to earlier remarks by U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville).
Brooks is a member of the House committee and was at the hearing.
Speaking of overall military readiness and the threats America faces, Brooks cited an American admiral’s estimate that China’s “nuclear stockpile could double if not triple or quadruple over the next decade.”
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