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Alabamas Redstone Arsenal chosen as future US Space Command headquarters

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The future headquarters will have around 1,400 soldiers and civilians.

WASHINGTON The US Army Redstone Dockyard in Huntsville, Alabama has been selected as the future location for US Space Commands headquarters.

Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett announced the decision on January 13, a day before stepping down from her post.

The selection of Redstone Arsenal is a huge victory for Huntsville, nicknamed Rocket City. US Space Command is currently based at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs. Alabama was considered a long shot, and Colorado was the favorite, given its incumbent status and the concentration of military installations and contractors in the space industry.

The US Space Command was established in August 2019 as the Army’s 11th Unified Combatant Command. The future headquarters will have around 1,400 soldiers and civilians.

Redstone Arsenal was one of six finalists announced by the Air Force in November. In addition to Colorados Peterson Air Force Base, other candidates were Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico; Patrick Air Force Base, Florida; Joint Base San Antonio, Texas; and Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.

Huntsville compared favorably on more of these factors than any other community, offering a large and skilled workforce, quality schools, superior infrastructure capacity, and low initial and recurring costs. while the permanent facility is under construction, the Air Force said in a statement.

Redstone Arsenal currently houses the Army Space and Missile Defense Command and the Army Strategic Forces Command, the Army Aviation and Missile Command, the Missile Intelligence Center and the space of defense intelligence agencies and the operations of the Missile Defense Agency. The region is also home to many defense contractors and space industry facilities, including the United Launch Alliance and Blue Origin factories.

Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) Pushed hard for the movement. “The industrial base surrounding Redstone is vibrant with more than 400 aerospace and defense technology companies,” he said in a statement. “The region has long held a national leadership position in the research, development, manufacture, operation and maintenance of space and rockets.”

The selection process began in May when the Air Force launched an open tendering process. Offers were submitted by 24 states.

The Air Force revealed the shortlist of locations on November 19 and a lobbying battle began. Over the past month, a team of Air Force officials held in-person and virtual meetings with representatives from each region.

For now, the US Space Command will remain at Peterson Air Force Base. The Air Force estimates it would take up to six years to complete an environmental review of the new location and put new facilities in place.

The Air Force Department plans to make a final decision on the location of the US Space Command headquarters in the spring of 2023, pending the results of the required environmental impact assessment, the military said. air. Colorado Springs, Colorado, remains the interim headquarters until the permanent location is ready to support the mission.

Republican Congressman Doug Lamborn, who represents Colorado Springs, sent a letter to President-elect Biden urging him to reverse what he called a political decision to move US Space Command to Alabama.

I am disappointed with the horrific decision to remove US Space Command from its Colorado Springs home and move it to a new location, Lamborn said.

US Senators Michael Bennet (R) and John Hickenlooper (D) said in a joint statement that they were “deeply disappointed that the Trump administration is attempting to move Space Command from Colorado to Alabama.” We do not believe that this decision reflects the best choice, or even a rational choice, for our national security and our ability to deal with threats in space. We are concerned about rumors that Trump’s White House influenced this decision for political reasons.

Defense analyst Todd Harrison, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the move “smacks of political motivation to take jobs in a state that voted for Biden and move them to a state that voted for. Trump ”.

A former Pentagon official familiar with Space Command’s base selection process told SpaceNews that the Air Force initially recommended Peterson Air Force Base as the preferred location and that the incoming Biden administration should review the decision.

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