Alabama officials are outraged by reports that the White House is trying to put the brakes on plans to move the headquarters of the US Space Command to Alabama because of concerns about Alabama’s strict abortion laws.
The law, which took effect last summer, is one of the strictest in the country, banning almost all abortions – including in cases of rape and incest. The White House has asked the Air Force to look into why the measure was approved in the first place. Now, NBC News is reporting
the plan can be completely eliminated.
Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) told The Hill that he’s “worried about this for two years.”
“For some reason the Biden administration is making it about politics and not about merit,” he said.
“Unfortunately, we’re going in that direction as we speak, but we’re not done yet. Hopefully they’ll wake up and understand that [for] Space Command, the best place to go is in Huntsville, Alabama.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) echoed those comments by Twitter on Tuesday.
“Alabama is the only option for the Space Command Headquarters – there are no ifs, and buts about it. The competition isn’t even close,” he said. “The Pentagon knows this. And the White House knows it. I’ll keep at it, and Alabama will continue to prove it until Huntsville’s HQ is official.
This is not the first time a president has been accused of playing politics at the top of the Space Command.
In 2019, President Trump re-established the US Space Command (previously disbanded in 2002) to oversee military operations in space. He chose Colorado Springs as the temporary location of its headquarters, but chose Huntsville as the permanent location before leaving office.
Colorado officials suggested the decision was a result of the 2020 election, when Colorado voted for Biden over Trump by 13 points.
A LETTERS in March from Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, a Republican, to Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall suggesting that the decision to choose Huntsville was actually swayed by the election. Suthers told the Washington Post that Trump told him “I want to see how it goes” in a conversation about Spacecom before the election.
Trump boasted that he “singlehandedly” chose Huntsville despite some Space Force officials saying the headquarters should remain in Colorado.
Some members of his own party were angry, including Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), who is now chair of the strategic forces subcommittee, who called it a “terrible decision” at the time.
“If ever there was a Trumped-up decision, this would be one,” said Dirk Draper, the head of the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce, at a news conference in 2021.
After Biden took office, the military conducted several investigations into possible political influence in the election process, but the investigations found no improprieties.
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said the delayed announcement of the relocation of the Space Command was “beyond disappointing.”
Rogers said the decision to move the headquarters to Huntsville was made with merit, noting the approval of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Pentagon’s Inspector General.
“That decision was based on two studies – they considered many factors including quality of life, available infrastructure, and workforce capabilities,” the congressman said in a statement. “Huntsville, Alabama finished first of the two.”
“It is past time for the Department of Defense and the Administration to stop playing political games and affirm Huntsville as the new home of Spacecom,” he said.
However, the GAO report identified what it called “significant deficiencies in transparency and credibility” in the process and also made recommendations that the Air Force develop guidelines for future decisions about locations. at the base.
The future location for Spacecom is an Army base called Redstone Arsenal near Huntsville, which is already home to several companies in the space industry including NASA, United Launch Alliance (ULA), Blue Origin and many others. A move there can draw more than
1,400 US service members and their families, contractors and civilian employees, in the area.
White House officials indicated that the delayed move was actually due to concerns over operational disruptions — amid the war between Russia and Ukraine and heightened concerns about China — rather than abortion laws.
The Administration also denied the suggestion that the delayed transfer decision was related to the Tuberville bloc of approximately 180 military nominations.
Tuberville held the general and flag officer nominations in protest of a new Pentagon policy that reimburses service members for travel expenses to receive an abortion if they live in states where the procedure is prohibited.
But that policy is coming to Alabama.
When choosing the location of military installations, the government looks at factors such as access to health care, room for growth, access to housing, proximity to airports, cost and general the quality of life. Under Alabama’s abortion law, Spacecom personnel’s access to reproductive health care is extremely limited, especially since most of the personnel are civilians who do not live on a military base.
Kendall, who was tasked with making the final decision on where Spacecom would be based, indicated that he knew nothing about Biden’s attempt at any move at Spacecom headquarters.
Tuberville said he has spoken with Kendall “a lot,” and doesn’t believe any final decisions have been made.
The Biden administration tasked Kendall with reviewing the location decision to determine if any factors have changed since the selection.
“We try to consider all possible factors that could affect the final decision,” he said last month.
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