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More speculation surrounds Space Command headquarters after report hints it will stay in Colorado

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- A recently released NBC News report is causing speculation about Space Command’s permanent home.

The report claims the Biden administration “may halt plans to move Space Command to Alabama,” according to two unnamed U.S. officials and one unnamed U.S. defense official allegedly familiar with the discussions.

Those unnamed officials claim the decision is based on abortion politics. Last summer, Alabama banned nearly all abortions, including in cases of rape and incest, becoming one of the most restrictive abortion states in the country.

However, the NBC News report states White House officials claim Alabama’s abortion ban is not a factor in the decision for Space Command’s headquarters.

In the nation’s capital earlier this year, U.S. Democratic Senator Michael Bennet pointed to Alabama’s new laws as the reason Space Command should remain in Colorado Springs.

“If the politics had not ended in that decision, the generals would have gotten their way, Space Command would be in Colorado and we wouldn't be having the conversation we're having today, because no one in Colorado would be having their abortion rights stripped from them because they're being sent to another state,” Bennet said on the Senate floor.

On his way out of the Oval Office, former president Donald Trump announced Alabama would be the home of Space Command’s headquarters. Trump took to a radio show to say he "single-handedly" made the call.

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said the decision was political.

“I was very much involved in conversations with President Trump,” Suthers said. “I watched the process take place. I knew it was a political decision.”

The Biden administration ordered a review of Trump’s decision to pick Alabama as headquarters. In a report, the U.S. Government Accountability Office said the process to select Huntsville was legitimate. However, it identified “significant shortfalls in the transparency and credibility” of the process and recommended the Air Force develop guidance for future basing decisions.

Local and federal lawmakers told 13 Investigates the decision shouldn't be political for either administrations.

"This should be based only on national security reasons, not on anything having to do with any political issues, including and maybe especially abortion," said Republican Congressman Doug Lamborn.

"The reason to keep space command in Colorado is it makes our nation stronger and safer," said Democratic Senator John Hickenlooper. "You don't need another reason. I don't think that the abortion issue has anything to do with with the decision of where Space Command should be."

The back and forth between administrations has only created more questions and speculation about Space Command’s permanent home.

"We haven't heard any decisions," Hickenlooper said. "I don't think we feel like we're close."

"It's hard to know when it's rumors or if it's official policy," Lamborn said. "There's a lot swirling around. It's a fluid situation and it's hard to pin down what the Biden people are actually thinking."

The U.S. Space Command, temporarily located at the Peterson Space Force Base, is a unified combatant command of the United States Department of Defense, responsible for military operations in outer space. Its mission is to “protect our country and the freedom to operate in space, keeping it secure, stable and accessible for military space power and new waves of innovation.”

Suthers told 13 Investigates that Space Command should remain in Colorado Springs because it is almost fully operational and any move would delay the process, creating national security concerns. He also points to the high cost of moving the headquarters.

“From the interests of the American taxpayer, it would be billions of dollars to move it,” Suthers said. “It needs to stay here.”

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Quinn Ritzdorf

Quinn is a reporter with the 13 Investigates team. Learn more about him here.


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