House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-AL) is demanding that Air Force leaders provide answers on President Joe Biden’s decision to cancel the Space Command headquarters’ planned move to Alabama in what Republicans — and some Democrats — call a political decision.
“I am demanding that Secretary Kendall and General Dickinson sit for transcribed interviews and produce documents related to the Space Command basing decision as part of a continuing investigation. I have had enough of their evasion of Congressional oversight and political games,” Rogers said Friday.
I am demanding that Secretary Kendall and General Dickinson sit for transcribed interviews and produce documents related to the Space Command basing decision as part of a continuing investigation. I have had enough of their evasion of Congressional oversight and political games. https://t.co/dwgiO7UwLJ
— Mike Rogers (@RepMikeRogersAL) August 4, 2023
Rogers on Wednesday sent Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall and Space Command Commander James Dicksinson admonishing them for not providing answers to previous requests for information and threatened a subpoena.
“It now appears you have something to hide, otherwise a forthright response to the Committee’s patient and numerous requests would have already come. If you fail to adequately respond, I will be forced to seek a subpoena for the relevant documents we have requested on multiple occasions, and to seek your compelled appearance,” Rogers wrote, setting a deadline for August 9.
The Biden administration last Monday announced that the Space Command headquarters would stay in Colorado Springs after delaying a decision by former President Donald Trump to move the headquarters to Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama.
Republicans — and some Democrats — say politics steered the decision. The Biden administration is in a standoff with Alabama’s senior senator, Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R), who has placed a hold on the Senate’s ability to confirm hundreds of the administration’s military appointees all at once, which would force the body to confirm the appointees one by one.
Tuberville has placed the hold in response to the Biden administration adopting a new policy on abortion in the military. The policy, which went into effect in February, calls for taxpayers to pay the bill for U.S. troops and their families to travel out of state for abortions if they are based in a state where they cannot seek one. The Biden administration pursued the decision after the overturn of Roe v. Wade. Tuberville argues the policy violates the spirit of the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the federal government from funding abortions, except in the case of rape, incest, or if the mother’s life is at risk.
So far, neither Tuberville nor the Pentagon has backed down.
The Biden administration has insisted that politics played no role in its decision, but even Democrats are not buying it.
Alabama Democrat Rep. Terri Sewell said the Biden administration’s decision to keep Space Command in Colorado “bows to the whims of politics over merit.” She pointed to the studies conducted by the Air Force, the Government Accountability Office, and an inspector general report that found that former President Donald Trump’s selection of Alabama for the headquarters was based on the location’s merits.
The Administration’s decision to keep Space Command in Colorado bows to the whims of politics over merit.
Huntsville won this selection process fair and square.
Read my full statement below ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/wVFmQw2mC3
— Rep. Terri A. Sewell (@RepTerriSewell) July 31, 2023
Sewell wrote in a statement strongly condemning the Biden administration’s decision:
I expected more from the Biden Administration. A decision of this magnitude should not be about red states versus blue states, but rather what is in the best interest of our national security.
To be clear, the Alabama Congressional Delegation stands united in opposition to this decision.
Biden reportedly made the decision himself based on Dickinson’s advice.
Tuberville blasted the decision as “blatant patronage politics” in a statement last week, noting that the top locations for the headquarters were Alabama, Nebraska, and Texas — all red states.
“Colorado didn’t even come close. This decision to bypass the three most qualified sites looks like blatant patronage politics, and it sets a dangerous precedent that military bases are now to be used as rewards for political supporters rather than for our security,” he said.
Sen. Katie Britt (R-AL) said Biden was “trying to hand the Gold Medal to the fifth-place finisher.”
Canceling the Space Command headquarters’ move to Huntsville would mean a loss of an estimated 1,400 jobs and a loss of an estimated annual $1 billion economic impact, according to the Hill.
Biden administration officials claimed they wanted to keep the headquarters in Colorado because it would take years to stand up the headquarters in Alabama amid competition with China.