“We sure would like to get this decision made and moved on down the road and have the opportunity to build on it…”
WASHINGTON — In a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing today, U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) pressed U.S. Air Force (USAF) Secretary Frank Kendall for answers about the continued delay in finalizing the relocation of U.S. Space Command (SPACECOM) headquarters to Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama.
The USAF first announced Redstone Arsenal as the new permanent location of SPACECOM in 2021, following an extensive search for the best location for the new home of the combatant command headquarters. Since then, Senator Tuberville has repeatedly highlighted the inarguable fact that Redstone Arsenal has proven to be the best place for SPACECOM.
In the hearing, Senator Tuberville asked Secretary Kendall to answer questions about the continued delays in the relocation process, reminding the secretary that repeated requests for reviews and information from members of the Colorado delegation are to blame. Secretary Kendall confirmed that it’s important the military moves forward with a permanent location for SPACECOM.
Excerpts from the exchange are below, and a full video of Senator Tuberville’s line of questioning during the hearing can be found here.
ON SPACE COMMAND:
TUBERVILLE: “Secretary Kendall, it wouldn’t be a hearing if I hadn’t asked you about Space Command. You and I have talked about this quite a bit. Are we getting closer? You know, we’re on the verge in our lifetime of a dangerous world. And, you know, we might be fighting this thing from space if we don’t watch it. And we want to make sure that we’re doing the right things. I hope this thing doesn’t get political. It looks like it is. You know, we’ve been waiting for two years for a decision. Give me your thoughts on what’s going on with Space Command. General Dickson said in his last hearing here that he needed a decision. So, what’s your thoughts?”
KENDALL: “I don’t have anything new to report today, Senator Tuberville. We’re hopeful that we’ll be able to get a decision out as soon as possible, but I don’t have any new information.”
TUBERVILLE: “None whatsoever. Are we even thinking about it or is this just in and out?”
KENDALL: “I just don’t have anything more to provide.”
TUBERVILLE: “Well, do you think it’s important for us to have a permanent base?”
TUBERVILLE: “You know, I think we all do. Nebraska who is on the list number two and then San Antonio number three, I think we all are kind of sitting around waiting to see what’s going to happen. But we sure would like to get this decision made and moved on down the road and have the opportunity to build on it instead of having guess work. Thank you. Thank you very much.”
A complete timeline of the SPACECOM selection process and Senator Tuberville’s work to support the relocation can be found below.
TIMELINE AND BACKGROUND
Since assuming office more than two years ago, Senator Tuberville has been a vocal advocate for the permanent relocation of U.S. Space Command (SPACECOM) to Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville.
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 recent months, Senator Tuberville has continued to lead the charge in the U.S. Senate to rally his colleagues around the U.S. Air Force’s decision and support SPACECOM’s swift move to Huntsville.
In a 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.
On March 27, Senator Tuberville wrote a letter to the editor of the Washington Post, rebuffing inaccurate attacks on the selection of Huntsville and explaining why the facts show Redstone Arsenal is the best location for SPACECOM.
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.