Alabama's congressional delegation submitted a bipartisan draft House bill seeking to block funding for the U.S. Space Command's temporary Colorado headquarters, saying the command should not spend money there until the Air Force formally announces that the permanent headquarters will be in Huntsville, Alabama, as the Trump administration said in 2021.
According to two congressional officials, the bill will ban Space Command from spending money to construct, lease, or modernize the facilities in Colorado after the Biden administration signaled earlier this year that it is considering a halt on plans for the Alabama center because of the state's strict anti-abortion laws, reports NBC News.
There have been several reviews and investigations since the Trump administration's announcement about the Alabama site. Meanwhile, Air Force and defense officials insist Space Command will be fully operational by the end of this summer, rather than the initial estimate stating it wouldn't be ready until the end of the year.
Space Command is leasing at least two buildings in Colorado. Last week, Alabama's congressional delegation heard from Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall, with several saying they were surprised when he told them the command is still expanding in Colorado, rather than Alabama.
Kendall told them that Army Gen. James Dickinson, the Space Command's leader, has approved the money being spent on the leases and that he does not have enough power to stop him.
With the bill, the Alabama delegation hopes to cut off Dickinson's funding so he can't continue to lease space in Colorado, due to concerns that a fully operational headquarters will be built and kept there and that the military will say they can't move the center to Alabama because that would delay the program.
Already, Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., who represents Colorado Springs and the area where Peterson Space Force Base is located, has argued on Twitter that moving the headquarters to Huntsville will keep Space Command from being fully operational for four to six years.
"U.S. Space Command is months away from full operational capability (FOC) at Peterson Space Force Base,” Lamborn said. "We cannot afford a self-imposed delay in FOC given the threats posed by China and Russia.'
Kendall also told the Alabama lawmakers that there are "fundamental changes" being made to the requirements for the headquarters that may affect the decision about where it is finally located, according to a letter released last week by Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., who chairs the House Armed Services Committee.
Kendall also said the changes were from Dickinson, not from the Pentagon or the Biden administration, and that he is investigating "irregularities" in the changes for the parameters for the headquarters.
He said he's weeks away from finishing the review and did not commit to sharing his results publicly.
An Air Force spokesman confirmed to NBC News that the Space Command has issued new requirements for its permanent headquarters and that the Air Force has "recently received additional information from the Commander, U.S. Space Command, which will require additional analysis before a final decision can be made for the permanent location of U.S. Space Command headquarters."
Rogers has also launched a committee investigation of the location selection process, directing Kendall and Dickinson to provide all documents concerning a change in headquarters or mission requirement for Space Command since President Joe Biden came into office.
Rogers also is seeking all documents about the leading or building of facilities for the command, as well as all Biden administration communications about headquarters changes, asking that everything be produced by June 8.
"It is advisable for SPACECOM to cease and desist from any action that implicates taxpayer funds in a scheme to alter the mission or headquarters requirements of SPACECOM without civilian order of oversight," he said.
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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