GAO to investigate decision to locate Space Command HQ in Colorado
al.com August 29, 2023
(Tribune News Service) — The U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) will investigate the decision to locate U.S. Space Command headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo., the office told AL.com on Tuesday.
“Yes, we accepted the request, and we will issue a report,” GAO spokesman Charles Young said. “The first thing that will occur now is that the team will determine the full scope of what we will cover and the methodology to be used.”
U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers (R- Ala.) and Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall along with other Alabama lawmakers asked for a federal investigation of the July decision to keep the base at its startup location in Colorado. Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville had been the top headquarters candidate in the Pentagon’s official base location competition.
Rogers, who chairs the House Armed Services Committee, was not immediately available for comment. He has accused Air Force and U.S. Space Command leadership of “deliberate, taxpayer-funded manipulation of a competitive selection process” in the Colorado decision.
The selection process Rogers referred to was created to avoid politicizing base location decisions. Multiple states routinely compete to host bases — 26 states wanted this one — because of the economic stability of a base and what that can mean economically to a city and state.
Young said the GAO won’t have an expected completion date for the review until the scope and methodology are decided. And what happens if the review finds an flawed decision process isn’t immediately clear.
“Once we do complete it, it will need to go through a security review with any agencies involved to ensure we can issue a public product, or whether it will be need to be restricted in some way due to national security information,” GAO spokesman Young said.
The Space Command decision process has been controversial because it keeps changing. The process first ranked Alabama the top site, and former President Trump said he made the decision to put it in Huntsville. President Biden has said he decided to leave it in Colorado.
“Following a thorough and deliberate evaluation process, and after consultation with Secretary (Lloyd) Austin and weighing the input of senior military leaders,” Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder said July 31, “President Biden notified the Department of Defense that he has selected Colorado Springs as the permanent location of the U.S. Space Command headquarters.”
“Secretary Austin, Secretary of the Air Force (Frank) Kendall, and U.S. Space Command commander Gen. James Dickinson all support the president’s decision,” Ryder said.
©2023 Advance Local Media LLC.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.