Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) slammed President Joe Biden’s decision to keep the U.S. Space Command headquarters in Colorado instead of moving it to Alabama, claiming the current administration ‘inserted politics’ into the decision.
U.S. Space Command, a joint command that is separate from the U.S. Space Force military branch, is currently housed in Colorado Springs. The Air Force recommended near the end of former President Donald Trump‘s term to move it to Huntsville, Alabama.
“As soon as Joe Biden took office, he paused movement on that decision and inserted politics into what had been a fair and objective competition — not because the facts had changed, but because the political party of the sitting president had changed,” Tuberville said in a statement Monday evening.
“The top three choices for Space Command headquarters were all in red states — Alabama, Nebraska, and Texas. Colorado didn’t even come close. This decision to bypass the three most qualified sites looks like blatant patronage politics, and it sets a dangerous precedent that military bases are now to be used as rewards for political supporters rather than for our security,” Tuberville added.
Biden and Senate Democrats have been in a monthslong feud with Tuberville, who has placed a hold on military nominations and promotions in protest of the Pentagon’s policy of reimbursing travel expenses incurred while seeking abortions. Many have raised concerns that the holds could eventually hurt military readiness, a point Tuberville seized on in response to the change.
“The Biden administration has been talking a lot about readiness over the past few months, but no administration has done more to damage our military readiness in my lifetime,” Tuberville said. “They’ve politicized our military, destroyed our recruiting, misused our tax dollars for their extremist social agenda, and now they are putting Space Command headquarters in a location that didn’t even make the top three. They are doing this at a time when space is only becoming more important for national security.”
“The senior senator from Alabama who claims to support our troops is now blocking more than 300 military operations with his extreme political agenda,” Biden said last week.
“This isn’t a football game,” he added, taking a shot at Tuberville’s past as a football coach.
Gen. James Dickinson, the head of Space Command, reportedly convinced Biden to keep everything in Colorado because moving would jeopardize military readiness, according to a senior administration official. U.S. Space Command headquarters will achieve “full operational capability” in the coming weeks, while moving it to Alabama would result in its opening in the early to mid-2030s, which Biden determined to be an “unacceptable” risk, the official added.
Lawmakers from both Alabama and Colorado have jockeyed for months for their state to be the permanent base. Colorado lawmakers said it would take less time to get the temporary base to full capacity than moving to Huntsville and getting the base up and running there, while Alabama politicians have cited the department’s initial decision and a subsequent review of that process. The change is enraging Tuberville, who championed the move to Huntsville.
The Alabama senator vowed to continue his push to bring Space Command to Huntsville, although it’s unclear what he could do further to change the decision.