Defense IG’s office is looking anew at Space Command HQ move

FILE - In this Aug. 29, 2019, file photo, President Donald Trump, left, watches with Vice President Mike Pence and Defense Secretary Mark Esper as the flag for U.S. space Command is unfurled as Trump announces the establishment of the U.S. Space Command in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. The Department of the Defense Inspector General on Friday, Feb. 19, 2021, has announced an investigation into the Trump administration's January decision to move the U.S. Space Command headquarters from Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado to the Redstone Arsenal adjacent to Huntsville, Ala. The announcement follows protests by Colorado's congressional delegation that the decision was politically motivated. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 29, 2019, file photo, President Donald Trump, left, watches with Vice President Mike Pence and Defense Secretary Mark Esper as the flag for U.S. space Command is unfurled as Trump announces the establishment of the U.S. Space Command in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. The Department of the Defense Inspector General on Friday, Feb. 19, 2021, has announced an investigation into the Trump administration's January decision to move the U.S. Space Command headquarters from Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado to the Redstone Arsenal adjacent to Huntsville, Ala. The announcement follows protests by Colorado's congressional delegation that the decision was politically motivated. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Credit: Carolyn Kaster

Credit: Carolyn Kaster

The Department of Defense’s inspector general’s office announced it is opening an investigation into how the Pentagon arrived at a decision to move the headquarters of Space Command to Alabama.

U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., welcomed the DoD announcement in a statement from his office Friday.

“I have been in close contact with the Office of Inspector General and my colleagues on the Armed Services Committee about this matter, and have also requested the Government Accountability Office review the defective methodology behind this process,” Lamborn said.

According to a Feb. 19 IG’s office memo, “the objective of this evaluation is to review the basis for selecting Huntsville, Ala., as the preferred permanent location of the U.S. Space Command headquarters.”

The investigation will examine whether the location choice “complied with DoD and Air Force policies during the location selection process; used objective and relevant scoring factors to rank the six candidate locations; and calculated the cost and other scoring factors accurately and consistently among the six candidate locations.”

Added Lamborn: “I welcome the investigation by the DOD OIG, and look forward to this review. I will continue working to ensure that this decision was made with neither political bias nor arbitrary and inappropriate metrics which will ultimately materially damage our national security and hamper Space Command’s critical mission.”

Dayton-area advocates made a case for moving the headquarters to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, but Dayton was not among the Air Force’s six finalist locations announced last November.

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On January 13, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced that the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala., was the Department of the Air Force’s preferred location for the command headquarters. Peterson Air Force Base, in the Colorado Springs area, had the command headquarters provisional location while the Pentagon oversaw what was presented as a national search for a new location.

Congressman Michael Turner, was one of the guest speakers in November at the groundbreaking ceremony for the National Air and Space Intelligence Center's (NASIC) Intelligence Production Complex lll military construction project. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF
Congressman Michael Turner, was one of the guest speakers in November at the groundbreaking ceremony for the National Air and Space Intelligence Center's (NASIC) Intelligence Production Complex lll military construction project. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

The overall development appears to dovetail with what Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, predicted late last month, when he said he expected a review.

Asked last month if the Redstone decision is a certainty, Turner said: “For all the locations that have been designated for Space Force, there will be a review by the Biden administration. And that’s why, certainly, our portion of Space Force, we’re going to have to advocate to (protect).”

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Turner has hailed what he expects to be the building of the National Space Intelligence Center as part of the overall NASIC mission at Wright-Patterson — the National Air and Space Intelligence Center, which has been growing for years.

In November, NASIC broke ground for a five-story Intelligence Production Complex, with an estimated price tag of $156 million, will add 255,000 square feet, with more than than 980 workstations on Wright-Patterson, which is Ohio’s largest single-site employer.

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