The inspector general for the Department of Defense is investigating a last-minute Trump administration decision to move the headquarters of the Space Command from Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs to Huntsville, Alabama, according to a new report from the Associated Press. The Space Command isn’t the same thing as the Space Force — the Space Command, the Associated Press explains, “enables satellite-based navigation and troop communication and provides warning of missile launches,” among other operations. In this case, the Trump administration is suspected of political retaliation over their Space Command HQ move — Trump won Alabama in the 2020 presidential race, while he conclusively lost Colorado.
Trump wasn’t the only Republican to lose in Colorado in 2020; Senator Cory Gardner did as well, and he was replaced by Democrat and ex-Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. Originally, Trump “hinted at a Colorado Springs rally in 2020 that the command would stay at Peterson Air Force Base,” the new report from the Associated Press explains, and the January 13 decision to move the headquarters “blindsided Colorado officials of both parties, who have urged the Biden administration to reconsider the decision,” the outlet adds.
Local officials of both parties have praised the newly launched investigation, which the inspector general’s office announced on Friday. Local GOP Rep. Doug Lamborn said that it’s “imperative that we thoroughly review what I believe will prove to be a fundamentally flawed process that focused on bean-counting rather than American space dominance.” In a joint statement, Hickenlooper and fellow Democratic Senator Michael Bennet added as follows:
‘Moving Space Command will disrupt the mission while risking our national security and economic vitality. Politics have no role to play in our national security. We fully support the investigation.’
Other last-minute moves from the Trump administration have also come under scrutiny since the Biden administration took over. For instance, in order to deal with a slew of last-minute appointments to citizen advisory boards at the Defense Department, the Biden administration’s Defense Secretary, retired Gen. Lloyd Austin, recently removed all members from these boards, clearing the way for the Biden administration’s own appointments.