Colorado politicians renew their fight to keep Space Command in the state – Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado 2021-04-30 20:36:47 –

Denver — US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin visited Colorado Springs this week to visit the temporary headquarters of the US Space Force.

The Defense Minister discussed the program’s space strategy and its contribution to national security during his visit, which was closed to the media.

This visit will take place when local, state, and federal-level politicians have updated their push for Space Command to stay in Colorado. In January, then-President Donald Trump announced that the ministry would move to Huntsville, Alabama. This move has been criticized for being politically motivated.

Initiatives at the local level

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers has been trying to argue for months why the Space Force should stay in his city. Most recently, Suthers and other local officials sent a letter to the Secretary of Defense urging the Biden administration to reconsider the move.

“Colorado Springs was the epicenter of military space from the beginning,” said Suthers.

Suthers said he had spoken to Trump three times before the decision to relocate the sector was announced, each time with the former president making the final decision after the election.

“When he was here for a rally, he basically cursed the crowd and said,” Hey, you want the Space Force. Decide after the election. ” It suggests that it may depend on the outcome of the election, “Suthers said. “We are pretty convinced that this was a political issue in the end.”

Suthers questioned the criteria used to rank Colorado Springs compared to Huntsville, and his city in several areas such as long-term economic feasibility, practicality, and reliability. Asked for an explanation as to why was ranked low.

In fact, he totally disagrees with some of the assessments made on access to schools, medical care and private airports. He says he is helping to reassess the region.

The city has also provided many incentives to maintain the space force, including free land and reduced utility costs. The city was also able to expand its childcare facilities and secure grants through the university to offer the state’s first civil aviation engineering program.

In total, Suthers estimates that the incentive package from the city is worth $ 100 million.

“I can’t believe I really want to spend $ 3 billion to get this working when everything is working fine in Colorado Springs. No confusion,” he said. ..

He doesn’t believe that potential moves are as important as losing his current job, but future benefits the city can see if the space force stays.

State-level efforts

At the state level, Colorado General Assembly members are also doing what they can to convince the Biden administration to allow them to stay in the sector.

“We were really fit for the Space Force headquartered here, and it’s basically a branch of the Air Force at this point,” said Republican Wellington Rep. Mike Lynch.

One of the small moves they want to make a big difference comes down to the wording of state statues. A bipartisan group of lawmakers Bill to change state law policy Officially recognize the Space Force as a branch of the National Guard.

Adding the Space National Guard to existing legislation will allow Air National Guard space units to transition to the Space National Guard once the federal government establishes the Space National Guard. This allows Colorado to take precedence over other states.

“The bill I submitted literally allows us to accept the first Space Force National Guard in the United States. It’s for our state because we already have the majority of Space Force people. It’s a very good thing, “Lynch said. “I hope this leads to the possibility of regaining the Space Force.”

Lynch is a West Point graduate, an Army veteran, and says he hasn’t decided on any potential moves yet. He says Colorado Springs already has the infrastructure to permanently house the sector, and now it’s just persuading the new administration to keep it. Some of that could also mean the state’s economic incentives, which he believes will be rewarded with dividends.

“Whatever we can do to encourage the agency to come to our state from the State Capitol, it means millions of dollars, if not billions, of income, which we are already here. It really has something to do with the industry, “Lynch said.

Efforts at the federal level

At the federal level, both Colorado Democrats and Republicans are updating pushes to investigate move decisions.

During ~ US Senate Military Commission Hearing Last week, Republican Rep. Doug Ramborn repeatedly asked General James Dickinson, commander of Space Command, about the motives for the move and whether it made sense.

“If the army was told to put Space Command in Iowa’s cornfield, they could do that. We can do whatever we want, but it’s working well so far. Why do you want to do it? “He said.

He also challenged Dickinson to explain how such costly moves are financially meaningful.

Meanwhile, US Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet have led calls to investigate the move decision in recent months.

“I believe that if we could know the truth, they would show that the Space Force should stay in Colorado Springs,” Hickenlooper said.

These calls are conducting two ongoing federal investigations. One is by the Department of Defense Inspector General and the other is by the Government Accountability Office.

Hickenlooper wants to know if there were irregularities in the scoring methods of different cities, or if the scores changed over time as the Trump administration approached the final decision on movement.

“The Space Force has been here for so long that it makes me crazy enough to consider it,” he said. “I don’t think there’s a clear reason. There’s no reason why the Alabama Space Force is better than the Space Force, or our country.”

Hickenlooper calls the potential move one of the most frustrating situations he has encountered in 20 years in government, spending billions of dollars trying to solve the problem of big government not existing. He said it was a terrible example.

Still, he says he is optimistic and looks forward to making his claim to the new Air Force Secretary as soon as he has a chance.

For now, the future of Space Command remains as uncertain as Colorado’s full political forces will fight to keep the sector in the state.

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