The DoD Inspector General’s (DoD IG) office has informed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley, U.S. Space Force Chief of Space Operations Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, and Army Gen. James Dickinson, the commander of U.S. Space Command (U.S. SPACECOM), that the DoD IG will probe the Air Force’s selection of Huntsville, Ala., as the preferred location for U.S. SPACECOM in the waning days of the Trump administration.
“We plan to begin the subject evaluation in February,2021,” per a Feb. 19 letter from Randolph Stone, assistant DoD inspector general of evaluations for space, intelligence, engineering, and oversight. “The objective of this evaluation is to review the basis for selecting Huntsville, Alabama, as the preferred permanent location of the U.S. Space Command headquarters. Specifically, we will evaluate the extent to which the Department of the Air Force complied with DoD and Air Force policies during the location selection process; used objective and relevant scoring factors to rank the six candidate locations; and calculated the cost and other scoring factors accurately and consistently among the six candidate locations.”
On Jan. 13, former Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett informed Alabama Republican Gov. Kay Ivey that the service had picked Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal as the preferred location for U.S. Space Command’s permanent headquarters (Defense Daily, Jan. 13).
That same day, the House of Representatives impeached Trump for a second time. After a trial that began on Feb. 9, the Senate fell 10 votes short of convicting Trump on Feb. 13.
State officials in Nebraska and Colorado have questioned the Air Force’s decision and contend separately that Offutt AFB, Neb., and Peterson AFB, Colo.–the current provisional headquarters of USSPACECOM–are better U.S. SPACECOM headquarters locations than Redstone Arsenal.
Colorado Democratic Gov. Jared Polis suggested on Jan. 13 that then-President Trump had overruled the service’s analysis of Peterson AFB as the best location and forced the selection of Redstone Arsenal in an attempt to curry favor with Alabama’s congressional delegation, including freshman Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), ahead of Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate for fomenting the mob that invaded the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
On Jan. 26, the nine members of Colorado’s congressional delegation, including Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), wrote a letter to President Biden and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to ask that they suspend the move of U.S. Space Command to Redstone Arsenal.