HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — The Secretary of the Air Force has reportedly denied claims that the decision on U.S. Space Command’s location will have anything to do with Alabama politics or laws.
Space Command’s temporary headquarters are currently in Colorado Springs, although Redstone Arsenal is in the running for the permanent headquarters.
Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall is in charge of making the final decision on Space Command’s location.
According to a report from online military news outlet Stars and Stripes on Monday, Kendall denied reporting that said White House officials were looking to ‘halt plans’ to bring U.S. Space Command to Huntsville over state laws.
“The decision criteria for Space Command have not fundamentally changed,” Kendall told Stars and Stripes. “There is nothing in that decision criteria about state laws, that might be about abortion or gay rights. That is not part of the decision criteria.”
This comes after NBC News reported on May 15 that the White House may be pushing to delay USSPACECOM coming to the Rocket City over the state’s restrictive abortion law and Senator Tommy Tuberville’s (R-Ala.) blocking of over 200 of President Joe Biden’s military nominations.
Alabama lawmakers recently spoke out against the same NBC report Kendall has denied, each stating their belief that the decision should be based on the original criteria set and not politically motivated.
Senator Katie Britt, Congressman Dale Strong and Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle also made public statements in March following the publication of an editorial in the Washington Post, which claimed Biden would be moving to undo a Trump administration plan to move Space Command to the Rocket City.
Kendall also met with the Alabama Delegation on Tuesday. The delegation reportedly advocated for Huntsville to become home to Space Command
President Trump established the Space Command in December 2019. The following year, the command revised its search for a permanent home. Redstone Arsenal was on that shortlist of potential sites, as a final decision was slated for 2023.
Huntsville was named a finalist in early 2021. Then, in 2022, the Department of Defense named the city as the “preferred permanent location for U.S. Space Command headquarters.”
While Huntsville was named the preference, many in Colorado fought to turn the temporary headquarters into the permanent headquarters.
The editorial piece in the Washington Post said the White House appeared “ready to reverse a Trump administration plan to relocate the U.S. Space Command from Colorado Springs to Huntsville, Ala. because it fears the transfer would disrupt operations at a time when space is increasingly important to the military.”
Huntsville finished first in both the Air Force’s evaluation phase and the selection phase, while Colorado Springs finished fourth and fifth respectively.
An official decision on where the permanent headquarters will be located has still not been made, and for the time being U.S. Space Command remains in Colorado Springs.
For more information on the United States Space Command, click here.