HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — It looks like there will be more government scrutiny on the decision to locate the Space Command headquarters in Colorado Springs, not Redstone Arsenal.
More than two years ago the U.S. Air Force announced Redstone Arsenal was the preferred choice for the permanent home for the Space Command headquarters.
But in July — after months of rumors about a possible change of plans — the Biden Administration announced it was Colorado Springs, not Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal that was selected as the site for the headquarters.
In the months prior to the decision being announced Alabama’s congressional delegation had expressed concern that something was amiss. At the urging of Huntsville-area U.S. Rep. Dale Strong, the House Armed Services Committee launched an investigation.
Tuesday saw the promise of even more scrutiny over that decision with the Government Accountability Office reporting it has agreed to investigate the basing decision.
The GAO’s agreement followed a request by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers. Rogers announced in May his committee was launching an investigation into the failure of the Biden administration to announce the Space Command headquarters decision. Three months later, the announcement has been made and Rogers wants the GAO take a closer look at how that decision was reached.
In his letter to the GAO, Rogers wrote, “National security decisions of this magnitude and significant economic interest require the process to be standardized, repeatable, transparent, and deliberate. Based on numerous administration officials talking to the press, the decision by President Biden appears to be anything but. Preferential decision-making by the President because of certain state laws has widely been publicized as a major factor but was never included in the basing requirements.”
Rogers asks the GAO to address several questions, including did the requirements for selection change? And if so, how and who decided that?
Rogers also asks GAO to inquire about the role of Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall in the decision-making process, including whether Kendall’s decision was the last word as had been previously announced. Rogers asks if the Secretary of Defense or White House removed Kendall from having the final decision.
Rogers also asks about the decision-making role of Space Command Commander General James Dickinson, who has longstanding ties to Colorado.
A GAO spokesman told News 19 today the agency will conduct the investigation. But Chuck Young, the GAO’s managing director of public affairs, said they have not yet decided on the scope of the investigation and they don’t yet have an expected completion date.