published : 2023-08-22
Alabama AG Cries Foul over Biden's U-turn on Space Command HQ Location
Unsure if General Dickinson disclosed his personal interests in Colorado to President Biden or other superiors, states Marshall
Alabama's attorney general Steve Marshall has raised an outcry for an investigation to be initiated concerning President Biden's about-face on the point to install Space Command headquarters in Huntsville.
Marshall sent a letter to the heads of the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Government Accountability Office (GAO), discussing the surprising turn of events that saw the anticipated Space Command HQ move from Alabama to Colorado.
On January 13, 2021, Marshall wrote, the Secretary of the Air Force selected Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville as the prime location for the Space Command’s headquarters after an exhaustive vetting process of almost two years.
Marshall claims several other 'qualified reviews' also confirmed the Air Force's judgement that Huntsville was an ideal location, stating that the choice was dictated by 'mission, infrastructure capacity, community support, and costs to the Department of Defense.'
However, he noted an expected change when on July 31, 2023, news surfaced that President Biden had moved the Space Command’s headquarters from Huntsville to Colorado, with reports suggesting that General James Dickinson influenced the President's decision.
What surprised Alabama officials was Dickinson's part in the decision, especially after his affirmation to Alabama's congressional delegation that 'the headquarters of U.S. Space Command belongs on Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala.'
Adding to the drama, Marshall found evidence that Dickinson had significant personal interests in Colorado - property records revealed the General's registration of a deed to a $1.5 million, 20-acre ranch near the Colorado headquarters location, which was previously undisclosed.
This revelation throws light on a mysterious quote from the Secretary of the Air Force from May, who stated that Dickinson 'had recently changed his needs for a headquarters and that the 'fundamental changes' could affect the basing decision.'
In the midst of surprises, secret deals, and concealed interests, Marshall is pushing for a full investigation into the matter, arguing that 'improper factors may have influenced the decision' to relocate the Space Command headquarters.
He argues that the question of Dickinson's influence and the cost to taxpayers for any potential secret dealings must be evaluated, while also addressing allegations of political partisanship regarding Alabama's abortion law.
In a statement designed to sting, Marshall said, 'The White House denied that claim but did not provide any evidence to substantiate the denial,' calling for transparency to understand these issues.
To the end, Marshall earnestly calls for a thorough investigation that would ideally match the precision that originally went into choosing the Huntsville location.
As it stands, the controversy enshrines the existence of U.S. Space Command’s headquarters in Colorado, an announcement President Biden made last month, following consultations with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and senior military leaders.
The decision was framed as ensuring peak readiness in the space domain during a critical period.
Meanwhile, senior U.S. officials stand behind President Biden's decision, arguing that moving headquarters would jeopardize military readiness, especially in an era of heightened competition in space with China.
They argue that maintaining stability takes precedence over minor benefits that could be gained by relocating to Alabama.