Washington, D.C. — Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet released the statement below following comments made by former President Donald Trump on the permanent basing of U.S. Space Command:
“Throughout this process, I have repeatedly expressed concerns that the decision to relocate the U.S. Space Command from Colorado to Alabama was not based on merit. I remain troubled by reports that the former president’s political considerations led to the final decision to relocate Space Command. Former President Trump’s admission suggests that national security and cost were clearly not his priorities. His recent interview further underscores why we need to investigate the previous administration’s last minute decision to uproot Space Command from its home in Colorado Springs.”
In 2019, Bennet and former U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) led the Colorado 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 what Colorado offers to 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. Later in May, 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 Colorado U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) 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 Trump to keep the Command in the Centennial State.
In January 2021, following the relocation announcement, Bennet and Hickenlooper released a statement denouncing the decision and expressing concern that the Trump White House influenced the decision for political reasons.
In January 2021, Bennet also led a letter from the entire Colorado Congressional Delegation that urged President Joe Biden to suspend the Trump Administration's decision to move U.S. Space Command from Colorado Springs, Colorado, to Huntsville, Alabama until the administration conducts a thorough review.
In May 2021, Bennet and U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, urged Biden to fully consider how the move may affect Intelligence Community dependencies and missions as well as the country’s ability to maintain superiority in space.
In June 2021, Bennet, Hickenlooper, and a bipartisan majority of the Colorado Congressional Delegation invited Vice President Kamala Harris to visit Colorado and its thriving space industry.