Denver – Today, Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D) and John Hickenlooper (D) released the following statement supporting the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Inspector General’s investigation into the Trump Administration’s decision to move U.S. Space Command from Colorado Springs, Colorado to Huntsville, Alabama:
“We are glad to hear that the Department of Defense Inspector General will be investigating the Trump Administration’s hastily-announced basing decision to move U.S. Space Command from Colorado to Alabama. Colorado is the epicenter of the national security space mission and has been performing the mission since the inception of Space Command in 1985. Moving Space Command will disrupt the mission while risking our national security and economic vitality. Politics have no role to play in our national security. We fully support the investigation.”
On January 13, the Air Force announced that Huntsville, Alabama, would be the permanent headquarters of U.S. Space Command. Following this announcement, reports surfaced that President Donald Trump politicized the process, choosing to relocate U.S. Space Command from its provisional headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
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 move U.S. Space Command from Colorado Springs, Colorado, to Huntsville, Alabama, until the administration conducts a thorough review.
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 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 Trump to keep the Command in the Centennial State.
In January, 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, Bennet and Hickenlooper led the entire Colorado Congressional Delegation in urging 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.