Senator Katie Britt (R-AL) encouraged Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to support the decision to transfer the headquarters of the United States Space Command to Alabama after hearing rumors that the plan would be halted by President Biden’s administration because of the state’s abortion ban.
The White House is reportedly “laying the foundation for trying to stop plans to relocate the headquarters of the U.S. Space Command to Alabama partly because of concerns regarding the state’s restrictive abortion regulations,” according to NBC News, citing two U.S. government officials and one U.S. military official involved with the debate.
According to NBC News:
“The decision to shift the Space Command’s administrative center from Colorado to Huntsville, Alabama, was made by the Trump administration, and the White House asked the Air Force to evaluate the procedure that resulted in that choice.”
“The assessment was requested in the months after Alabama’s legislation, which banned almost all abortions, including those caused by rape and incest, went into force last summer. The legislation is regarded as one of the strictest in the country.”
According to a U.S. official who spoke to NBC News, “the perception is that they are postponing any move due to the abortion issue.”
Another U.S. source told the publication, “This is related to politics around abortion.”
Two investigations conducted after Biden took office, however, concluded that “there was not any undue political influence regarding the process that chose the headquarters to Alabama.”
Although, a White House representative reportedly told NBC News that “having access to reproductive health services does not factor in when it comes to a decision concerning location.”
In a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, Britt specifically explained to Austin the reason why the president should stick by the choice to move Space Command’s headquarters to Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama. Britt was concerned about claims that Biden had politicized the military.
“There is no question that the Air Force’s choice to choose Redstone as its preferred basing site was made on the basis of merits,” according to Britt, who highlighted that Redstone Arsenal “performed first in both the Air Force’s Assessment Phase as well as the Selection Phase.”
She referred to the allegations that the Biden administration politicized the process as “deeply disturbing.”
She also lauded Huntsville’s ranks for its high standard of life.
Austin heard Britt say:
“The City of Huntsville has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as the best and second-best places to live in the country for the previous two years. I could go on and on about Huntsville and all of the honors the city has received, like being named the third most affordable city in the nation, the third city nationally for highest quality of life, and the fourth most prosperous city in the country.”
“The bottom line is that Huntsville’s workforce is not simply best-prepared to serve Space Command’s mission, but also the City of Huntsville is the ideal location for Space Command’s personnel to prosper while enjoying the American Dream,” Britt said.
Britt added that having Space Command’s headquarters at Redstone Arsenal “undoubtedly is still in the greatest national security interests of the United States.”