The Alabama attorney general is calling for an investigation into President Joe Biden’s reversal of his decision to put Space Command headquarters in Huntsville.
A letter from Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall’s letter to Government Accountability Office (GAO) Director of Defense Capabilities and Management Elizabeth Field as well as Department of Defense (DOD) Assistant Inspector General (IG) Randolph Stone regarding the president’s “sudden reversal” of placing headquarters for Space Command in Colorado. Fox News Digital obtained the letter.
“On January 13, 2021, after a thorough vetting process that spanned almost two years, the Secretary of the Air Force selected Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama, as the preferred location for Space Command’s headquarters,” wrote Marshall.
“According to the announcement, the Air Force evaluated six possible headquarters locations ‘based on factors related to mission, infrastructure capacity, community support and costs to the Department of Defense,'” continued Marshall, noting the “factors strongly favored Huntsville.”
Marshall wrote several “independent reviews” by the two offices “confirmed the Air Force’s decision that Huntsville was the best location for Space Command’s headquarters” and that the DOD IG’s “20-person team” found the selection of the Air Force’s process was lawful.
The attorney general also said the GAO “similarly reported that Huntsville was clearly the preferred headquarters location” for the new headquarters.
“After its investigation, the Government Accountability Office concluded that the selection of Huntsville ‘was consistent with the Air Force’s analysis,'” wrote Marshall. “The Huntsville headquarters should have cleared its final hurdle when the Air Force determined last year that the site ‘will not have a significant impact on the quality of the human environment.'”
“Yet on July 31, 2023, government officials reported that President Biden had reversed the decision to locate Space Command’s headquarters in Huntsville and instead selected a location in Colorado. News reports credited General James Dickinson with convincing Biden to choose Colorado,” continued Marshall and cited a report from the Associated Press that reported on the snub.
Marshall wrote Dickinson’s “role understandably surprised Alabama officials” weeks after the commander of the U.S. Space Command “confirmed to Alabama’s congressional delegation that ‘the headquarters of U.S. Space Command belongs on Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala.'”
“Newly uncovered Colorado property records reveal that General Dickinson had at least 1.5 million reasons to recommend Colorado over Huntsville for the permanent U.S. Space Command headquarters,” wrote Marshall.
“In April 2023, General Dickinson registered a deed to a $1.5 million, 20-acre ranch near the Colorado headquarters location,” continued the Alabama attorney general. “When he was assuring them that ‘he couldn’t envision any circumstance where he wouldn’t recommend Huntsville,’ General Dickinson did not disclose his Colorado purchase to Alabama officials.”
“It is unknown whether General Dickinson disclosed his personal interests in the Colorado site to President Biden or any other superiors,” added Marshall.
Marshall alleges that Dickinson’s “personal interests may explain why the Secretary of the Air Force announced in May that General Dickinson’ had recently changed his needs for his headquarters and that the “fundamental changes” could affect the basing decision.'”
The Alabama attorney general also noted the GAO found that “the Huntsville location was the highest scoring location at every stage of the decision-making process.”
“It is unknown how General Dickinson’s ‘fundamental changes’ affected the scoring process or how much taxpayer money was spent to implement these changes during the decision-making process,” wrote Marshall.
Marshall said other “improper factors may have influenced the decision as well,” multiple “government officials reported that the White House would not move Space Command’s headquarters to Alabama because of partisan concerns about the state’s abortion law.”
“The White House denied that claim but did not provide any evidence to substantiate the denial,” wrote Marshall, adding that transparency “is needed to understand these issues and any others that were part of the effort to reverse the decision to locate Space Command’s headquarters to Huntsville, Alabama.”
“I respectfully request that your offices investigate the process to select the Colorado location with a least as much thoroughness as you did with the initial selection of the Huntsville location,” concluded Marshall.
DOD spokesperson: The letter “hasn’t come through official channels”
A spokesperson for the DOD said the letter “hasn’t come through official channels,” and they “aren’t in receipt of the letter.”
Last month, the president informed the Department of Defense that the U.S. Space Command headquarters will remain in Colorado, rejecting former President Donald Trump’s push to move its operations to Alabama.
Brigadier General Patrick Ryder said Biden had consulted with Lloyd Austin, U.S. Secretary of Defense, and senior military leaders before deciding Colorado Springs, Colorado, would remain the permanent location of the U.S. Space Command headquarters.
Ryder maintains having the U.S. Space Command’s headquarters remain in Colorado Springs will ensure that the U.S. maintains “peak readiness in the space domain … during a critical period.”
“It will also enable the command to most effectively plan, execute and integrate military space power into multi-domain global operations in order to deter aggression and defend national interests,” said Ryder.
Senior officials told the Associated Press that Dickinson convinced the president moving the headquarters would jeopardize military readiness. However, Dickinson’s view was in contrast to Air Force leadership, which studied the issue and determined relocating to Huntsville, was the right move.
The president said that he believes keeping the command in Colorado Springs would avoid a disruption in readiness the move could cause, especially as the U.S. races to compete with China in space.