Staying put —

Biden administration reverses Trump decision to relocate US Space Command

The Air Force recommended during Trump's final days in office basing Space Command in Alabama.

Swift reaction

Alabama's representatives in Congress are not happy with Biden's decision.

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) said the Air Force's top three choices in 2021 for Space Command's headquarters were all in red states, adding that the decision to bypass the three top-ranked finalists "looks like blatant patronage politics."

"This is absolutely not over," he said in a statement.

Tuberville has put a hold on nominations and promotions of senior military officers whose positions require Senate confirmation, protesting a Pentagon policy of granting leave and reimbursing travel expenses for military personnel who must travel out of state to obtain an abortion or fertility treatment. The hold has so far delayed the promotion of more than 200 military officers.

"President Biden has irresponsibly decided to yank a military decision out of the Air Force’s hands in the name of partisan politics,” said Sen. Katie Britt (R-Ala.).

Alabama's senators don't have the influence on Capitol Hill that was wielded by former Sen. Richard Shelby, who retired from Congress earlier this year. Shelby alternated roles of chairman and ranking member of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee for the better part of the last decade, directing funding for federal projects with a presence in Alabama.

Not surprisingly, Colorado's lawmakers welcomed Biden's decision. Lamborn, the Republican from Colorado Springs, said Biden's decision prioritized national security above political interests.

“For two and a half years we’ve known any objective analysis of this basing decision would reach the same conclusion we did, that Peterson Space Force Base is the best home for Space Command," said Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.). "After two investigations and rigorous review by the Department of Defense, the administration has made the decision that’s in our country’s best interest."

While members of Alabama's congressional delegation promise to fight Biden's selection of Colorado Springs for Space Command, there's broad consensus that a final decision was long overdue.

"This has gone on too long," Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) said last week. "These decisions impact our members, their families, local communities. It impacts the mission and the national security of the United States. So we shouldn't let indecision, bureaucracy, and politics impact our national security like this."

Channel Ars Technica