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U.S. Space Command’s new HQ will be located in red state Alabama in 2023

Alabama has been provisionally selected as the host of the new Space Command headquarters, disappointing five other states vying to house the military command, and delighting Donald Trump‘s supporters in the strongly Republican state.

The new site will be in at the Huntsville, at the Redstone Arsenal – a Second World War-era site of 38,000 acres, which currently serves as the center for the U.S. Army’s missile and rocket programs.

The Department of the Air Force said the decision to move to Huntsville will become final pending the results from the required environmental impact analysis. That is expected in the spring of 2023. The headquarters will remain in Colorado until then.

Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, will be home to Space Command if the impact survey is passed

Redstone Arsenal was founded in 1941 and is currently home to the Army's missiles program

Redstone Arsenal was founded in 1941 and is currently home to the Army’s missiles program

Redstone Arsenal, near Huntsville, already has substantial infrastructure for Space Command

Redstone Arsenal, near Huntsville, already has substantial infrastructure for Space Command

Space Command was founded in 1985 and mothballed in 2002. Trump revived it in August 2019.

Space Command is not to be confused with Space Force, which was founded by Trump in December 2019 and is one of the eight U.S. uniformed services.

The role of Space Command is to conduct operations such as enabling satellite-based navigation and troop communication and providing warning of missile launches; one of 11 unified commands, such as AFRICOM and SOUTHCOM.

Space Force is a distinct military service like the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.

Huntsville’s nickname, Rocket City, is thanks largely to Wernher von Braun and his team of fellow German-born rocketeers who settled there in the 1950s.

The city is also home to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

Trump and Pence are pictured in August 2019 with General John "Jay" Raymond, Commander of USSPACECOM (far left), and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper showing off the signed document for the Establishment of the U.S. Space Command (USSPACECOM)

Trump and Pence are pictured in August 2019 with General John “Jay” Raymond, Commander of USSPACECOM (far left), and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper showing off the signed document for the Establishment of the U.S. Space Command (USSPACECOM)

Barbara Barrett, Air Force Secretary and a Trump appointee, announced the decision days before leaving office.

Officials in the state – which voted 62.2 per cent for Trump – were delighted at the news, which came after months of lobbying from all candidates.

‘I couldn’t be more pleased to learn that Alabama will be the new home to the United States Space Command,’ said Kay Ivey, the Republican governor.

‘Our state has long provided exceptional support for our military and their families as well as a rich and storied history when it comes to space exploration,’ she said.

SPACECOM said in a statement that ‘Huntsville compared favorably across more of these factors than any other community, providing a large, qualified workforce, quality schools, superior infrastructure capacity, and low initial and recurring costs.’

They added: ‘Additionally, Redstone Arsenal offered a facility to support the headquarters, at no cost, while the permanent facility is being constructed.’

Kay Ivey, governor of Alabama, has been a loyal supporter of the president

Kay Ivey, governor of Alabama, has been a loyal supporter of the president

Trump shakes hands with SPACECOM Commander Jay Raymond in December 2019

Trump shakes hands with SPACECOM Commander Jay Raymond in December 2019 

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said the city is honored to have been selected.

Colorado officials condemned the move, saying military officials had recommended to Trump that Space Command remain at the Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, but they were ‘overruled for politically motivated reasons.’

Colorado, once solidly Republican, is now purple. The state voted for Joe Biden 55-41.

‘This move threatens jobs, could cause serious economic damage, and upend the lives of hundreds of military and civilian families that were counting on U.S Space Command staying at home in Colorado Springs as well as harm military readiness,’ said Jared Polis, the Democrat governor, and Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera.

SPACECOM was founded in 1985, mothballed in 2002 and revived 17 years later, in 2019

SPACECOM was founded in 1985, mothballed in 2002 and revived 17 years later, in 2019

In a letter, Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado urged Biden to reverse the decision upon taking office, saying moving Space Command from Colorado would ‘damage America’s national security’ at a time when Russia and China are actively competing with the U.S.’s space capabilities.

Mo Brooks, congressman representing Alabama, said Barrett told him the decision was based ‘solely on merit and the interests of national security.’

Brooks suggested politics will be at play if the site gets moved back to Colorado under the new administration.

‘Partisan politics should not play a role in national security. Time will tell what happens in a red state when the federal government is totally dominated by Democrats,’ the Republican congressman said.

Other finalists for the site were Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico; Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska; Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado; Port San Antonio in Texas; and Patrick Air Force Base in Brevard County, Florida.

Those site will remain alternative locations until the final announcement.


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