DENVER — U.S. Space Command is reportedly leaving Colorado Springs for Alabama in what Gov. Jared Polis is calling a "politically motivated" move by outgoing President Trump.
Polis in a statement said Trump overruled recommendations to keep Space Command in Colorado Springs, saying the president's decision was "deeply concerning."
U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs, called the move a "horrendous decision" and saying it will "materially damage our national security." Lamborn vowed to fight the decision and said he sent a letter to President-elect Joe Biden, asking him to reverse the move.
"As we speak, our near-peer adversaries, Russia and China, are actively working to defeat our space capabilities," Lamborn said in a statement. "Moving a critical institution like Space Command for political reasons unrelated to national security would be foolish at the best of times. In the midst of the ongoing great power competition between the U.S. and our allies against the forces of tyranny and absolutism represented by the Chinese Communist Party and Vladimir Putin, arbitrarily shuffling SPACECOM around like a political trophy would prove disastrous."
No official announcement had been made by the Trump administration, though Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said Wednesday that Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala., was awarded the Space Command's headquarters, according to AL.com
Colorado Springs in November was named one of six finalists for the permanent home of Space Command. Peterson Air Force Base last May was named a temporary headquarters for the command for at least six years, and Pentagon officials visited Peterson last week, according to KOAA.
It was unclear Wednesday when Space Command would be leaving Colorado for Alabama.
"This move threatens jobs, could cause serious economic damage, and upend the lives of hundreds of military and civilian families that were counting on U.S Space Command staying at home in Colorado Springs as well as harm military readiness," Polis said in a joint statement with Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera.
Polis said his administration will work with Colorado's federal delegation "to restore integrity to the process as it unfolds."
Colorado's U.S. senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper released a joint statement, saying the move is not "a rational choice."
"We are concerned by rumors that the Trump White House influenced this decision for political reasons," the senators said.
The other finalists being considered for Space Command's headquarters included Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, Joint Base, San Antonio, and Offutt Air Base, Nebraska.
Colorado officials had celebrated Space Command's arrival in the state and lobbied to make the temporary move permanent, citing Colorado's military resources and facilities, in particular in Colorado Springs which is home to Peterson Air Force Base, Fort Carson and the Air Force Academy.
“Today’s news regarding Space Command is extremely disappointing,” El Paso Board of County Commissioners Chair Stan VanderWerf said in a news release. “Housing the permanent headquarters for U.S. Space Command in Colorado Springs is right for our national security, our men and women in uniform, and is in line with the military’s own recommendation.