Lawmakers seek to restrict funding for Space Command in Defense bill

Congress inserted an amendment to the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that restricts the Defense Department from building out the headquarters for U.S. Space Command in Colorado until June 30 when they want to deliver an independent review of the site selection.

Inserting the provision to restrict construction on Space Command, one of 11 unified combat command centers under the Pentagon, is a major policy win for Alabama lawmakers, who argue their state was removed as the original headquarters site by a politically motivated Biden administration.

The amendment in the draft NDAA says the Pentagon cannot acquire, construct, plan or design a new headquarters building until the Pentagon inspector general and U.S. comptroller complete the review of the headquarters selection process at the end of June.

Those agencies have not yet launched a formal review of President Biden’s decision over the summer to leave Space Command in Colorado Springs, Colo., which overruled the Trump administration’s plan to eventually relocate the headquarters to Huntsville, Ala.

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), chair of the Armed Services Committee that helped draft the NDAA, has already asked the inspector general to review the case. Rogers has expressed fury at Biden’s Colorado pick for Space Command, which will bring more than a thousand jobs and have an estimated annual $1 billion impact.

While the plan was to move to Huntsville, the temporary location for Space Command has remained in Colorado Springs since Trump revived the combat command center in 2019.

Biden challenged Trump’s decision to relocate to Alabama, launching reviews to see if it was a politically motivated decision, but none of them found serious wrongdoing.

When Biden chose to remain in Colorado, he cited readiness as the main factor, with the relocation process expected to last through the early 2030s and have an impact on military effectiveness.

Alabama lawmakers held a hearing on the issue in September that accused the Biden administration of playing politics with the headquarters site, charging officials with deciding part because of restrictive abortion laws in Alabama.

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