Every day, technology makes space more and more a part of our lives. It’s also getting more important to our national security. It’s likely that the wars of the future will be fought, at least in part, in space.
This is why, in 2019, President Donald Trump re-established Space Command, or SPACECOM, to manage our military’s operations in space. The question then was, where to locate SPACECOM.
SPACECOM was placed temporarily in Colorado Springs until the Air Force could find a permanent home, which they did in January 2021. The Air Force chose to move SPACECOM to Huntsville, AL.
Huntsville makes all the sense in the world as a home for SPACECOM. Rocket City is already home to Marshall Space Center, our only NASA facility on a secure military installation. Huntsville is already home to the Missile Defense Agency, which protects Americans from the cruise missiles, ballistic missiles, and hypersonic attacks. And Rocket City makes more rockets than any other city in the nation. If it goes from Earth to space, then the odds are good that it went through Huntsville.
Rocket City is home to one of the best educated workforces in the world. A majority of Huntsville has a college degree and more than one in five has a graduate degree. Just last week "U.S. News and World Report" named Huntsville the second best place to live in America.
It should be obvious that Huntsville is the ideal spot for Space Command.
But Democrats in Washington never let the facts get in the way of good politics. Since President Joe Biden took office, Colorado Democrats have demanded the decision be put through two more rounds of government reviews. Unfortunately for them, the additional reviews only confirmed that Huntsville was the best location. The second review even found that the decision-making process had been politically biased—against Alabama!
Nevertheless, despite three government studies now showing Huntsville is the best location for SPACECOM, a disturbing new report last week from NBC News warned that Biden is preparing to overrule the Air Force. The Biden Administration is allegedly making two excuses: (1) because of Alabama’s laws protecting life and (2) concern that moving SPACECOM will be disruptive.
Both excuses are completely baseless.
First, Huntsville was selected over 60 other possible locations on the basis of 21 factual criteria. Abortion wasn’t one of them. Alabama law was already very pro-life when the Air Force made its decision. The idea that Alabama’s pro-life laws cancel out Huntsville’s advantages over all other locations is just a desperate, last-second objection promoted by Democrat politicians in Colorado. The argument is so ridiculous that even an anonymous White House official denied that it is a consideration, and Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall denied it publicly on Monday.
If abortion were a reason to deny SPACECOM for Huntsville, then it would set a dangerous precedent. Every other red state in America would have to wonder if they were going to be stripped of their military bases. Does Biden want to close Fort Cavazos in Texas? Does Biden want to close Fort Bragg in North Carolina, one of the most populous military bases in the world?
As for the question of readiness, this is also baseless. The head of space command, General James Dickinson, testified under oath last year that “we are a couple [to] three years away from full operational capability . . . no matter where we are located.”
None of the arguments add up. Last week’s report from NBC News even confirms that “U.S. officials said Colorado did not come close to Alabama as a preferred location when the military conducted its search.”
In fact, Colorado didn’t even make the top three. The second-place finisher to Huntsville was Omaha, NE, and third place was San Antonio. Nebraska has relatively liberal abortion laws, and Texas has strong pro-life laws like Alabama. Yet both are red states, and both appear to be getting the same treatment as Huntsville. Is this a coincidence?
Nothing is official yet. NBC’s report says the Biden administration is delaying the decision to strip SPACECOM from Huntsville for fear of aggravating me. They should be afraid. They should also be afraid of crossing the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee—Alabama’s Mike Rogers.
The president needs to do what’s best for SPACECOM, not the Democrat Party. Space will continue to play a larger and larger role in our society and in our national defense. When the next war comes, we need to be ready to fight and win in space.
For the sake of our military, for our national security, and for Alabama, I’m going to keep advocating for Huntsville until SPACECOM finally takes its rightful place in Rocket City.
Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to Commentary@1819news.com.
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