Repercussions continue to come in from Monday’s report about President Biden possibly overturning a planned move of Space Command to Redstone Arsenal.
The hailstorm of protest is bipartisan and bicameral, as well.
In the Senate, Republican Sen. Katie Britt hammered Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin during a hearing of the Senate Committee on Appropriations.
In the House, Democratic Rep. Terri Sewell, a leading party figure and political ally of President Biden, went to bat for Alabama.
Their actions come on the heels of the NBC News report that said the White House is attempting to “reverse” the decision to locate U.S. Space Command’s headquarters to Redstone.
“Biden administration officials have signaled privately to Pentagon officials and lawmakers that they’re looking to reverse the Alabama decision over concerns about operational disruptions that moving Spacecom’s headquarters, which is currently located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, could bring,” the network said.
In Tuesday’s hearing with Austin, which dealt mainly with China, Britt (R-Montgomery) took the opportunity to link the Space Command decision directly to national security readiness.
“As we consider the multi-domain threat, land, sea, air and space that is posed by the [People’s Republic of China], particularly from a space perspective, as the leader of the Department of Defense, I implore you to cut through the politics and make a final basing decision for the U.S. Space Command headquarters,” Britt said.
“In order to compete and succeed against China, we must use all of our tools. When you look at that, we know that those tools are there at Redstone Arsenal.”
Sewell (D-Birmingham) was the first African American woman elected to Congress from Alabama. Her influence is long standing with party leadership and previous administrations.
“The White House should immediately reconfirm Huntsville as the headquarters of Space Command,” she said. “To change course would be because of politics and not merit. Surely, the Biden Administration would not allow politics to improperly influence this decision.
“Both a GAO & IG report confirmed that the Air Force used a merit-based process in deciding to locate Space Command HQ in Huntsville. This conclusion was made under two separate administrations,” Sewell said.
“Huntsville is without question the best home for SPACECOM.”
Alabama’s delegation to Washington has widely criticized the possible reversal, pointing to the exhaustive government vetting involved in selecting Redstone as the best location for U.S. Space Command.
Britt affirmed to Austin there’s no confusion on that point.
“When you look at the city of Huntsville in the past two years, they have been ranked by US News & World Report as number one and number two place to live in the United States,” she said. “The city has also been ranked number three and most affordable places to live in the country.” It was number three in the cities nationwide app search for best quality of life and number four as the most prosperous place in America.
“I could go on and on about the actual city of Huntsville and the accolades that have been rightfully given to them. But the bottom line is not only is Huntsville is workforce the best prepared to support space commands mission, but also the city of Huntsville is the best place for that workforce to thrive and to live the American dream.”
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