Colorado Senators Will Receive Updates on Investigation, Provide Detail
Washington, D.C. – Today, Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper officially joined Representative Lamborn in formally supporting the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) review of the methodology and scoring used by the Department of the Air Force to determine the permanent headquarters for U.S. Space Command. The GAO formally launched its review on March 19, 2021. As co-requesters, Bennet and Hickenlooper will receive updates on the review and have opportunities to provide the GAO with additional information.
“We’ve long believed that Colorado is the best location for U.S. Space Command to remain permanently. This review will determine whether politics superseded national security,” said Bennet and Hickenlooper. “There is bipartisan consensus in Colorado that the methodology used for this basing decision was flawed, and we will continue working with the GAO and the Colorado delegation to keep Space Command in Colorado Springs -- where it belongs.”
In 2019, Bennet and former U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) led the Colorado Congressional Delegation in writing to Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan and to Acting Secretary of the Air Force Matthew Donovan and Commander of U.S. Space Command General Jay Raymond to emphasize why Colorado should be the permanent home of U.S. Space Command. Bennet and Gardner also published an op-ed in the Colorado Springs Gazette advocating for the basing decision. Following the White House’s official announcement of the creation of U.S. Space Command in August 2019, the entire Colorado Congressional Delegation reiterated their call to re-establish the headquarters in Colorado. In the original basing decision process, of the six possible locations that the Air Force named, four were in Colorado: Peterson Air Force Base (AFB), Schriever AFB, Buckley AFB, and Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station. In the fall of 2019, the Air Force named Peterson AFB the temporary home to U.S. Space Command.
In December 2019, Bennet met with Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett and spoke with the Commander of U.S. Space Command General John W. Raymond to discuss the importance of a focus on national security space and to reiterate his support for basing Space Command in Colorado.
In May 2020, the Air Force announced a new basing decision process that evaluated self-nominating communities, like Aurora and Colorado Springs, on their ties to the military space mission, existing infrastructure capacity, community support, and cost to the Air Force. The Air Force also announced Peterson AFB in Colorado Springs would remain the provisional location of the command until 2026. Bennet and Gardner wrote a letter to Polis calling for him to support military spouse licensure reciprocity in the state, which Polis then signed into law in July 2020. Spouse licensure reciprocity was a component of the Air Force’s evaluation of each nominating state’s support for military families. Following passage of Colorado House Bill 20-1326, the entire Colorado Congressional Delegation, Polis, and Lieutenant Governor Dianne Primavera wrote to Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Barrett to highlight the new Colorado law and further demonstrate that Colorado is the best state to serve as the permanent home of the U.S. Space Command.
In June 2020, Bennet welcomed Polis’ endorsement of the self-nomination of both the Aurora and Colorado Springs communities to compete to be the permanent home for U.S. Space Command. At the end of August 2020, the Aurora and Colorado Springs communities submitted their questionnaire responses to the Department of the Air Force completing the next step in the basing process.
In August 2020, Bennet visited Peterson AFB and Schriever AFB for an update on the U.S. Space Command mission and stand up. He also met with General Dickinson, who assumed command in August, and learned about advancements at the National Space Defense Center.
In November 2020, the Air Force announced Colorado Springs as a finalist for the U.S. Space Command headquarters.
In December 2020, Bennet and Hickenlooper joined more than 600 state, federal, local, county and municipal officials, businesspeople, philanthropists, civic leaders, military officials, entrepreneurs and Coloradans from across the state in a letter urging former President Donald Trump to keep the Command in the Centennial State.
On January 26, Bennet and Hickenlooper led the entire Colorado Congressional Delegation in urging President Joe Biden to suspend the Trump Administration’s decision to relocate U.S. Space Command until a thorough review of the decision was conducted.
In March, Bennet, Hickenlooper, and a bipartisan group of Senators outlined recommendations for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Inspector General (IG) to include in the investigation of the decision.