WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) released the following statement today to reiterate the inarguable fact that Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama has proven to be the best location for U.S. Space Command (SPACECOM):
“The U.S. Air Force’s thorough selection process and decision to put SPACECOM headquarters in Alabama was based on evidence of what’s best for the military and the country. The Air Force selected Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama over 65 other locations, including Colorado. Members of Congress from Colorado requested two additional studies when they didn’t get their way. Both of those studies confirmed that Huntsville was the number one location for SPACECOM — based on things like workforce, existing infrastructure, education, and cost of living. Colorado did not make the top three. The best place for Space Command is in Huntsville. This is not my opinion, this is fact.”
Reports that the Air Force’s selection process was political or contrary to the advice of Pentagon officials are not supported by fact. President Biden’s own administration has repeatedly confirmed the selection of Huntsville as “strategic” and an “analytically based process.”
On February 22, 2021, then-Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said in a statement, “Secretary Austin has communicated to Air Force leaders that he supports their decision-making process about the preferred location of Space Command headquarters.”
On June 16, 2021, John Roth, President Biden’s Acting Secretary of the Air Force at the time, testified at a U.S. House Armed Services Committee hearing. In his testimony, Acting Secretary Ross said, “I have personally no evidence that the decision was politically motivated…[t]he selection of Huntsville as the preferred location by my predecessor was the result of our strategic basing process, and that process is an analytically based process.”
A timeline of the SPACECOM selection process and Senator Tuberville’s work to support the relocation can be found below.
TIMELINE AND BACKGROUND
In 2020, the U.S. Air Force conducted an extensive search for the best location for the new home of SPACECOM, reviewing objective criteria like infrastructure, costs, mission capability, and the quality of the local community. Sixty-six different locations in twenty-six states were evaluated, and in the end, Redstone ranked number one.
At the request of other lawmakers, the U.S. Department of Defense Inspector General (DoD IG) and the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) both conducted investigations into U.S. Air Force’s site selection process for SPACECOM headquarters.
Following the release of the DoD IG’s report, which concluded that the U.S. Air Force followed a legal, fair, and logical process, Senator Tuberville praised the findings of the report. The IG report said, in part, “Overall, we determined that the 2020 Basing Action directed by the SECDEF complied with Federal Law and DoD policy and that the Basing Action process was reasonable.” After his office was briefed on the GAO report, which had similar findings to the IG report, Senator Tuberville issued a video statement in which he said, “it’s time to fully embrace the Air Force’s decision and move forward together. The U.S. Air Force needs and deserves our full support.” After both reports were released, Senator Tuberville sent a letter to his colleagues outlining the findings and how politically-motivated delays negatively impact the nation’s readiness.
In a Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) hearing on March 9, 2023, Senator Tuberville pressed a senior military official in defense of the U.S. Air Force’s decision to move SPACECOM to Alabama, confirming independent studies that prove Redstone Arsenal is, unquestionably, the best location. In the hearing, Senator Tuberville questioned General James Dickinson, commander of SPACECOM, about the criteria and scores that led to Huntsville’s selection. These questions prompted General Dickinson to confirm the process that chose Alabama as the number one choice for SPACECOM.
The hearing on March 9 came hours after Senator Tuberville took to the Senate floor to methodically lay out the facts supporting Redstone Arsenal as the best location for SPACECOM, defend Alabama from baseless political attacks, and urge the military to proceed with its original plan to permanently bring SPACECOM to Huntsville as soon as possible.
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.