“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” This language in the 10th Amendment to the Constitution clearly states one of the pillars of the founding of the United States of America — the principle of states’ rights. The Alabama delegation’s fight for the United States Space Command headquarters in Huntsville demonstrates a case study of President Biden’s disregard for states’ rights and the sanctity of life.
Space Command (SPACECOM), a Combatant Command separate from the military services, maintains responsibility for U.S. military operations in the space domain. Peterson Space Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo., serves as SPACECOM’s temporary headquarters while the Department of the Air Force conducts the strategic basing process to determine the permanent location. In January 2021, the secretary of the Air Force announced Huntsville, Ala., as the preferred location for SPACECOM’s headquarters based on merit. Reviews by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Department of Defense (DOD) Inspector General reinforced the process.
Despite this, NBC recently reported that the Biden administration intends to halt plans to move SPACECOM’s headquarters to Alabama due to “the state’s restrictive abortion laws.” The report follows a Washington Post article outlining the White House’s intention to reverse the relocation plan to Huntsville based on national security concerns; however, any level of scrutiny unveils the national security concern as a red herring argument.
The Commander of SPACECOM, Army General James Dickinson, disclosed to members of Congress from the Alabama and Colorado delegations that moving the headquarters does not pose a national security threat, nor does moving it stand to disrupt current or future operational capability. Not only will the new location sustain national security, but it will also advance it. Conversely, keeping SPACECOM at the site of the Space Operations Command alongside several other space bases creates a concentration of resources and risks this important facility becoming a target of our adversaries. Considering the capabilities of these adversaries, the centralization of our national and strategic space organizations poses an unnecessary and heightened national security threat.
This begs the question — what is holding the administration back if Huntsville is clearly the best location based solely on considerations of merit and national security? The answer appears to be politics. The administration is willing to punish Alabama for its policies to protect the most vulnerable among us.
The abortion politics of this administration accelerated a year ago. On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision. President Biden stated that the decision of abortion laws being left to the states “upsets the balance of law” and that he would “do everything in [his] power” to protect abortion rights. A pattern begins to emerge when you step back and consider this basing decision alongside the Department of Defense’s abortion travel policies — the Biden administration prioritizes politics over the rights of the unborn, national security, and states’ rights.
It seems clear the Biden administration is primed to award Colorado — consistently the less-preferred location, ranking no higher than number 4 in reviews — based on its pro-abortion laws. Even the Colorado Republican Party recognizes the disastrous precedent being set. On June 6, 2023, Dave Williams, chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, wrote a letter to President Biden imploring him “to make the decision regarding Space Command solely on the merits of Colorado Springs,” recognizing the risks of a politically-based decision and maintaining their position on protecting life.
The Biden administration and the Colorado congressional delegation seek to overturn the merit-based decision that placed Huntsville as the No. 1 choice for the new headquarters. The Department of the Air Force’s strategic basing process identified Rocket City as the preferred location. Both a Biden-directed Department of Defense Inspector General investigation and a Colorado delegation-requested, non-partisan Government Accountability Office investigation legitimized the Air Force’s process and decision.
Huntsville won on merit and remains the best location when considering national security. Any decision otherwise would infringe on state rights and the 10th Amendment. If Colorado is ultimately named the permanent headquarters, any support for this decision, whether purposeful or complicit, will reinforce the White House’s gross abuse of political power and the disregard for Alabama’s commitment to the sanctity of life. The two cannot be separated for political expediency.
Robert Aderholt represents Alabama’s 4th District. This article was originally published on "The Hill" and is republished here with permission.
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