WASHINGTON (AP) — Alabama Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville said in a tweet Wednesday that the top general in charge of U.S. Space Command told him during a meeting that Huntsville, not Colorado Springs, Colorado, is the preferred location for its new headquarters.
Tuberville's tweet, which his office also issued in a press release, is the latest twist in the ongoing brawl over where U.S. Space Command should be located. The decision that has become entangled in a far larger political fight between Tuberville and the Defense Department over reproductive health care for service members, which is now jeopardizing the promotions of hundreds of military officers.
The senator tweeted that Gen. James Dickinson “confirmed Huntsville is the preferred location of Space Command headquarters. Enough is enough, it’s time to bring U.S. Space Command home to Huntsville."
U.S. Space Command had no comment on Tuberville's statement.
Tuberville is fighting for a basing decision that could bring hundreds of lucrative jobs to his constituency. The Air Force and Space Force initially recommended that the headquarters be placed in Colorado Springs, but in the final days of his term President Donald Trump decided the new headquarters would be based in Huntsville.
Huntsville scored higher than Colorado Springs in a Government Accountability Office assessment of potential locations and has long been a home to some of earliest missiles used in the nation’s space programs, including the Saturn V rocket. It is home to the Army's Space and Missile Defense Command.
Colorado Springs is home to the Air Force Academy, which now graduates Space Force guardians, and more than 24 military space missions, including three Space Force bases and the temporary home of U.S. Space Command. Proponents of keeping the command in Colorado argue that moving it to Huntsville and creating a new headquarters would set back its progress at a time it needs to move quickly to be positioned to match China's military space rise.
The basing decision, while not directly connected, has become part of a larger political fight. The Biden administration has not moved forward with assigning the headquarters to Huntsville as the decision went through a series of congressional and inspector general reviews. Meanwhile, Tuberville has used a Senate privilege to essentially stop any military officer nominations or promotions until the Defense Department rescinds a policy that would allow and provide support for service members to seek reproductive care outside their current assignment area.
The Biden administration has not said whether it will overturn the previous decision to award the headquarters to Alabama, which has some of the strictest abortion laws in the country.
However, the holds are having significant trickle-down effects on military families who would be now getting ready to move to their next base and getting their kids set up in a new school.