WASHINGTON — The chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) is backing efforts by Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) to challenge the relocation of U.S. Space Command from Colorado to Alabama.
In a May 11 letter to President Biden, Warner and Bennet argue that the Trump administration rushed to recommend the move of U.S. Space Command without fully considering the impact on the intelligence community that works hand-in-hand with the military to protect U.S. satellites from threats.
The Air Force on Jan. 13 announced that the Army Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama, had been selected as the permanent headquarters of U.S. Space Command, which currently is based at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs. Since then, Colorado lawmakers have pushed back, arguing that the decision — announced one week before a change in administration — appeared to be politically motivated given the large presence of military space installations and space industry workforce in Colorado.
Warner and Bennet are making the case that U.S. intelligence agencies also are affected by this move but their needs were not considered.
“We are concerned this decision did not take into account how such a move may affect Intelligence Community (IC) dependencies and missions. We therefore request you review the process by which this decision was made, and to ensure IC equities are fully considered,” the senators wrote in the letter to Biden.
They note that Colorado has made investments in facilities such as the National Space Defense Center to “enhance collaboration and interoperability” between intelligence and military operators. “It is critical that any decision to move Space Command from its current location take into account the potential effects of such a move on the operational integration between the IC and DoD space communities at NSDC and at other joint sites in Colorado,” said the letter.
At the request of Colorado lawmakers, the relocation decision currently is being reviewed by the DoD inspector general and the Government Accountability Office. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said he supports the Air Force’s decision-making process.