REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. – The U.S. Air Force wants to make Redstone Arsenal the home of the US Space Command Headquarters.
The Air Force said Wednesday afternoon that the Secretary of the Air Force had chosen Redstone Arsenal as the preferred location for the headquarters. The Air Force said a final decision will be made in 2023, pending the results of an environmental impact analysis that’s required.
Redstone Arsenal was one of six finalists announced in November.
The command is currently set up and running out of Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado, which was also a finalist. The other finalists were Joint Base San Antonio in Texas, Offut Air Force Base in Nebraska, Patrick Air Force Base in Florida and Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico.
Governor Kay Ivey’s office says she joined officials with Redstone and Huntsville City on a call with Pentagon officials for the final pitch. This morning, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations Bob Moriarity called Governor Ivey to inform her of Secretary Barbara Barrett’s Space Command Headquarters preferred candidate basing decision.
Ivey released the following statement about the Air Force’s decision:
“I couldn’t be more pleased to learn that Alabama will be the new home to the United States Space Command!
“Our state has long provided exceptional support for our military and their families as well as a rich and storied history when it comes to space exploration. This combination only enhances the outstanding relationships we have with the 65 diverse federal agencies on Redstone Arsenal, not to mention the growing presence of the FBI and other federal installations. The bottom line is simple, the Redstone Region is the most natural choice to become home to such an important mission for our country.”Governor Kay Ivey
Redstone Arsenal released a statement on U.S. Space Command Wednesday evening:
“We are honored to welcome Space Command and our joint partners to Redstone, the Huntsville/Madison County Community, the State of Alabama and the Tennessee Valley,” said Redstone Arsenal senior ranking officer and commanding general of Army Materiel Command Gen. Ed Daly. “This is a welcome effort and we are excited to bring their more than 1,400 service members and employees to Redstone.
“Redstone Arsenal as a Federal Center of Excellence has continued to thrive and grow over the past 15 years and serve as the economic engine for the Tennessee Valley. Most recently we have seen growth on Redstone include FBI; Army Future Command’s Future Vertical Lift and Assured Positioning, Navigation and Timing Cross Functional Teams; and Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office for hypersonics and directed energy, a new three-star command.
“Redstone Arsenal leadership remains committed to working with local community and state leaders to invest in roads and other critical infrastructure, continued access to quality education at all levels, including school of choice for military families residing on the installation,” said Daly.Army Materiel Command Gen. Ed Daly
Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle is also excited about the announcement. He started his statement by thanking Senator Richard Shelby saying, “As one of our nation’s strongest defense advocates and most knowledgeable leaders in defense matters, Senator Shelby recognized the value of a program that would focus on space assets and threats. It is his vision to protect our country in space with a dedicated command.”
The rest of Battle’s statement reads:
“The site selection team recognized what we know to be true – Huntsville is a natural choice. We are space. We do space. From the Redstone Arsenal installation to the Space and Missile defense assets that are here, Huntsville has been the leader in all thing space since day one. From the 1950s when Explorer I went into space to the birthplace of NASA, space is in our DNA. We have built the space infrastructure and technical expertise to lead this effort.
“The site team learned about the Redstone region’s proven track record in relocating military commands to our community. Army Aviation moved here in 1995 and Army Materiel Command moved here in 2011. Our low cost of living and doing business means the country’s tax paying dollar will stretch much farther, providing more valuable resources for our space effort and warfighter.
“We look forward to the partnership with U.S. Space Command and pledge to make them a success from day one.”Mayor Tommy Battle
Congressman Robert Aderholt, who represents the fourth district of Alabama, released the following statement about the announcement:
“This decision is not only a good one for North Alabama, but also good for America. Locating the United States Space Command in Huntsville is smart, because it’s already the center of much of our nation’s space, military and strategic command capabilities. It’s also located near Washington; just one hour and 15 minutes by plane. The area also has a high quality, low cost of living for those who will be stationed here as part of the Command.”
“Our space program was born, raised and came to greatness from Alabama soil. So, it’s only fitting that the next great incarnation on our leadership in space would be firmly planted here as well.”Rep. Robert Aderholt
Alabama Senator Richard Shelby also released a statement about the announcement.
“Redstone Arsenal will be the new home to U.S. Space Command. This is outstanding news, not only for our state but also for the Air Force. This long-awaited decision by the Air Force is a true testament to all that Alabama has to offer. Huntsville is the right pick for a host of reasons – our skilled workforce, proximity to supporting space entities, cost-effectiveness, and quality of life, among other things. I am thrilled that the Air Force has chosen Redstone and look forward to the vast economic impact this will have on Alabama and the benefits this will bring to the Air Force,” said Senator Shelby.Sen. Richard Shelby
The Redstone Regional Alliance and the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber released a joint statement:
“We are confident that the Air Force has made the correct decision to base the Space Command Headquarters at Redstone Arsenal. The Redstone site offers the Department of Defense the lowest cost option with superior regional capabilities, capacity and quality of life. We look forward to working with Space Command to make this transition as seamless as possible.
“Our region has successfully executed similar moves on several previous occasions and that experience will greatly inform our efforts.
“We greatly appreciate the support that U.S. Senator Richard Shelby and his staff have provided as well as the efforts of the State and regional team members who have provided their critical support.”Redstone Regional Alliance and the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber
The final decision on the location for the U.S. Space Command Center will be announced in 2023. President Trump established the Space Command in December 2019.
The command revised its search for a permanent home earlier in 2020. Redstone Arsenal was also on that previous short list of potential sites.
Redstone Arsenal, a Federal Center of Excellence, is home to the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense, NASA and the Department of Justice. Team Redstone says they are focused on the four core competencies of logistics; space operations and missile defense; research, development, test and engineering; and intelligence and homeland defense.