COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – Political leaders in Colorado on both sides of the aisle are slamming a decision by the Air Force to move the United States Space Command out of the state and to Alabama. It is currently headquartered in Colorado Springs while the Air Force has been working to determine the best permanent location.
According to local and state officials and sources within the military, indications were Colorado Springs was the top choice among the finalists of where the permanent headquarters would be, which has some raising concerns the decision was politically motivated.
In a statement, Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn, who represents Colorado’s 5th District, said in part, “I am disappointed by the horrendous decision to rip U.S. Space Command out of its home in Colorado Springs and move it to new location. There’s no way around it: Relocating SPACECOM will materially damage our national security, this decision was not based on what is best for Americas national interests.”
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers was also blindsided by the announcement.
“I’m deeply disappointed. From my perspective this would be my greatest disappointment,” Suthers said.
He too believes the decision was based on political relationships versus the criteria given by the Air Force when advising communities on their ideal location.
“Bottom line is there is significant political connections between the president and the congressional delegation of Alabama,” he said.
A move like this, Suthers says, would certainly cost Colorado Springs.
“There will be 1,400 active duty Space Force guardians, so that’s 1,400 active duty military personnel and their families spending money in the economy,” he said.
They estimate the total economic impact would be a loss of roughly half a billion dollars every year to the city, but would also impact the rest of Colorado’s aerospace industry as well.
According to Metro Denver Economic and Development Corporation, which also houses the Colorado Space Coalition Department of Defense, related activity in Colorado makes up more than $36 billion, the U.S. Space Command makes up close to 3% of that.
Statements on the decision from Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and both Sen. Bennet and Sen. Hickenlooper echoed the concerns of the Colorado Springs mayor. Together they are calling on the Biden administration, once in office, to take a closer look at what motivated the decision.
“I don’t think the motive would be what’s in the best interest of taxpayers or national security,” Suthers said.