REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (WHNT) – A report released by the Government Accountability Office further supports the U.S. Air Force’s initial decision to permanently locate the Space Command Headquarters on Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama.
The GAO report measured the Air Force’s revised process for command basing against four characteristics of GAO’s Analysis of Alternatives (AOA) process.
The GAO noted its main issue with the decision was that the Air Force did not use the GAO’s AOA process.
“While the January 2021 selection of Redstone Arsenal as the preferred location for U.S. Space Command headquarters was consistent with the Air Force’s analysis, our assessment of the Air Force’s revised selection process and attendant analysis against our AOA best practices identified significant shortfalls in its transparency and credibility,” the GAO report concluded.
Air Force officials stressed that they did not use the AOA best practices as a guide because they were neither required or relevant to their basing decisions.
The GAO recommended that the Air Force implement their AOA best practices for future basing decisions. The report noted that the Air Force neither agreed nor disagreed with the GAO’s recommendation.
Read the full GAO report here:
The Department of Defense Office of the Inspector General released a report evaluating the selection in May, which found the process used by the Air Force “complied with law and policy, and was reasonable in identifying Huntsville as the preferred permanent location.”
Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby tweeted he sees the GAO report as good news for Redstone.
“Pleased that the (GAO) Space Command report reiterates what the IG report said last month,” Shelby said Thursday in a message posted on Twitter. “The Air Force followed strict criteria when they evaluated and selected Huntsville. I agree Huntsville was the right pick for the job.”
Members of Colorado’s congressional delegation continue to protest the decision of removing Space Command from its current location at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado.
“We now know that in a White House meeting in January 2021, senior military leadership recommended Colorado Springs as the preferred location for Space Command due to the unique ability of Peterson Space Force Base to reach full operational capability significantly faster than any other potential location, and at a significantly lower cost,” the delegation said in a statement. “However, following this meeting a different location was announced as the selection and justified with inconsistent documentation and unclear reasoning.”
U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks also released a statement, “The GAO’s report backs up what has already been said many times: that Huntsville ranked #1 across the board in the legal and merit-based competition for SPACECOM HQ. The Tennessee Valley community compared favorably to the other 5 potential locations, providing a large, qualified workforce, superior infrastructure capacity, and low initial and recurring costs. Ultimately, Huntsville is not only the best option to support the Command and our national security priorities in the near term but far into the future as well.”
A final decision on the move has not been approved. The Air Force said a final decision will be made in 2023, pending the results of an environmental impact analysis that’s required. The Huntsville/Madison County Chamber says that report is expected to be released soon.
For more information on United States Space Command, click here.