Pentagon Nominees Refuse to Second Guess Space Command Move to Huntsville

Tuberville says Redstone decision is best for national security and taxpayer. Urges colleagues to follow the data, not politics.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) today spoke during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing where Redstone Arsenal received plenty of air time. What was supposed to be a confirmation hearing for President Biden’s nominees for Secretary of the Air Force, Frank Kendall and the Assistant Secretary for Defense for Cost Assessment & Program Evaluation, Suzanna Blume, soon turned to the future home of Space Command.

Excerpts from the exchange can be found below, and the full line of the Senator Tuberville’s questioning can be viewed here.

TUBERVILLE: “First, I’d like to thank you Mr. Kendall, Ms. Blume for standing by the data of the decision to put Space Command in Huntsville. My colleague seemed [to] continue to fight that for some reason. The Air Force analysis showed the location of Redstone saves taxpayers millions of dollars which we all look forward to. I know you do, Ms. Blume. And that co-locating Space Command with NASA, Blue Origin, and ULA makes strategic sense. I’m proud that Secretary [of] Defense Austin is supportive of the Air Force analysis and it’s my hope that the decision, which is good for both national security and the taxpayer, remain apolitical.”

Earlier in the hearing, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), who does not represent the future nor current location of Space Command, insinuated the decision was misguided and required further review by the Department of Defense. Mr. Kendall and Susanna Blume, nominee to be DoD’s Director of Coast Assessment & Program Evaluation, declined to commit to Sen. Shaheen’s request, noting the already extensive decision-making progress and ongoing reviews.

SHAHEEN: “There are reports Mr. Kendall, that renovating Space Command’s current location in Colorado for long term use, rather than moving the command and authorizing new MILCON, will save taxpayers’ dollars and achieve full mission capability seven years faster than moving to Huntsville, Alabama. Will you commit to this committee that you will, give us cost estimates for both relocating Space Command and the potential cost to build a new facility in Huntsville?”

KENDALL: “Senator Shaheen, I understand there is a review going on of that decision and what I would like to do, first of all, is to see the results of that review. I will commit to work with you on that as soon as we get some more facts on the table. Now, the Air Force went through a process, I think in fact there are maybe two reviews going on, and I’d like to have the results of those and then we can have a discussion about the specifics at that point.”

SHAHEEN: “And is that something Ms. Blume that CAPE would take a look at the analysis of?”

BLUME: “Senator it’s my understanding that both the Air Force and the IG, the DOD IG, are reviewing that decision. Ordinarily CAPE would not, unless asked to for some reason by the Secretary.” (Senator Shaheen Questioning in Senate Armed Services Committee 05/25/2021)

Senator Tuberville has previously pointed out that Alabama is the best strategic and fiscally responsible location for Space Command.   

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.