GAO to review Air Force process for selecting location of U.S. Space Command

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The GAO probe was requested last month by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.).

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Government Accountability Office confirmed on March 19 that it will review the Air Force’s methodology and scoring that led to the decision to move U.S. Space Command headquarters  from Colorado to Alabama.

The GAO probe was requested last month by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.). The Air Force’s decision also is being reviewed by the Pentagon’s inspector general.

The GAO is an independent, nonpartisan watchdog agency that conducts audits and investigations, many of which are requested by members of Congress. 

Former Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett announced Jan. 13 that the service was recommending that U.S. Space Command be relocated from Colorado’s Peterson Air Force Base to Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama.

Lamborn and the rest of the Colorado congressional delegation have complained that the basing decision was politically motivated. 

In a letter to GAO, Lamborn said he was not asking GAO to weigh in on political issues but to strictly evaluate the methodology and scoring. For example, he asked GAO to determine if the scoring used to select Redstone Arsenal differed from past strategic basing decision making processes. He also asked GAO to assess if the evaluation criteria was applied equally to all sites. 

Redstone Arsenal was one of six finalists the Air Force announced in November. Besides Colorado’s Peterson Air Force Base, the other candidates were Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico; Patrick Air Force Base, Florida; Joint Base San Antonio, Texas; and Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.

“I am very pleased that the Government Accountability Office is conducting an investigation of the methodology behind the headquarters selection process for U.S. Space Command.  I believe the process the Department of the Air Force used was fundamentally flawed,” Lamborn said March 19.