Lawmakers ask Air Force Secretary to ‘pause all actions’ on Space Command relocation

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Sen. Bennet's letter to Frank Kendall: 'We urge you to formally suspend any actions to relocate the headquarters'

WASHINGTON — Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and other lawmakers are asking Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall to suspend all activities related to the relocation of U.S. Space Command from Colorado Springs to Huntsville, Alabama.

Due to “irregularities of the selection process and the effects on national security, we request you pause all actions related to moving U.S. Space Command until thorough reviews by the DoD Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office are complete,” said a Sept. 30 letter to Kendall signed by Bennet and several other Colorado lawmakers.

A copy of the letter was obtained by SpaceNews.

The Space Command basing decision announced by the Air Force in the waning days of the Trump administration is being reviewed by the Defense Department’s IG and the GAO at the request of Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.)

Members of the state’s congressional delegation have been fighting back since the announcement, claiming the decision was purely political and not based on objective criteria used by the Defense Department to select basing locations. Bennet’s latest letter is the first direct outreach to Kendall, who has been in office since July. 

The dispute took a new twist in August after former president Donald Trump told a radio host that he specifically directed that the command move from Colorado’s Peterson Space Force Base to Redstone Arsenal in Alabama. This contradicted Air Force statements that the selection process followed established criteria used for military basing decisions.

Kendall’s only public comments on the issue were on Aug. 24 during the Space Symposium in Colorado Springs. When asked by a reporter about Trump’s comments, Kendall said: ”President Trump has said many, many things.” 

He did not elaborate further. “I think either one of them is certainly feasible as the headquarters,” Kendall said of Redstone and Peterson.

Bennet’s letter to Kendall says “significant evidence exists that the former president’s political considerations influenced the final decision to relocate U.S. Space Command headquarters. We urge you to formally suspend any actions to relocate the headquarters until the DoD Inspector General and the GAO have completed their respective investigations into the basing decision and you complete your review.”

The letter reiterates the argument made by Colorado lawmakers that the decision was not only politically motivated but also counterproductive as most of Space Command’s workforce and industrial base reside in Colorado.