The U.S. Air Force picked Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala., for the new 1,400-person U.S. Space Command's headquarters Wednesday.
The Space Command, which was established as the 11th Unified Combatant Command in 2019, "conducts operations in, from, and to space to deter conflict, and if necessary, defeat aggression, deliver space combat power for the Joint/Combined force, and defend U.S. vital interests with allies and partners."
The Air Force examined locations in 24 states, but settled on Huntsville, which is nicknamed "Rocket City," pending an environmental impact analysis that should be completed by spring 2023.
"Huntsville is the right pick for a host of reasons – our skilled workforce, proximity to supporting space entities, cost-effectiveness, and quality of life, among other things," Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., said in a statement. "I am thrilled that the Air Force has chosen Redstone and look forward to the vast economic impact this will have on Alabama and the benefits this will bring to the Air Force."
Other finalists and alternative locations were in New Mexico, Nebraska, Texas, Florida and Colorado. The Space Command's move from Colorado's Peterson Air Force Base to Alabama did not sit well with Colorado lawmakers.
"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," Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera said in a statement. "This misguided decision would cost American taxpayers potentially billions of dollars and would be fiscally irresponsible if it is allowed to stand."
Colorado Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper lambasted the decision Wednesday and said they will ask the incoming Biden administration to review it.
Meanwhile, Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks, who is a Republican, praised the move and said that "time will tell what happens in a red state when the federal government is totally dominated by Democrats.”
The Space Command is distinct from the Space Force, which is its own branch of the U.S. Military and is responsible for organizing and training forces, along with the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force.