Congressman Mo Brooks Hails U.S. Space Command HQ Coming to Tennessee Valley
Washington, DC— Wednesday, Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) hailed the United States Air Force announcement of Huntsville, Alabama’s Redstone Arsenal as the preferred location for U.S. Space Command headquarters.
Congressman Brooks said, “I committed to the Pentagon to not comment on this good news for the Tennessee Valley and Alabama until after it had been made public by the U.S. Air Force later today but, given that, as is often the case, the announcement of Space Command headquarters has been a rather poorly kept secret by various politicians, and given that the horse is already out of the barn, I comment at this time.”
Brooks continued, “Alabama is not only America’s #1 football state, we are also the #1 state for national security. The U.S. Air Force’s decision to locate U.S. Space Command Headquarters at Redstone Arsenal is great news for the Tennessee Valley and Alabama. Redstone Arsenal’s selection is a testament to our excellent quality of life, low cost of living, high-quality local school systems, skilled workforce, Redstone’s geographical space for new facilities, and existing wealth of national security expertise. Not to mention, Redstone is already the home to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, the Missile Defense Agency, and the Army’s Space and Missile Defense Command, all of which are related to and can assist Space Command H.Q.”
Brooks continued, “Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett made the decision to locate Space Command H.Q. at Redstone Arsenal. I should emphasize some highlights of our discourse. Secretary Barrett chose Redstone based solely on the strength of its score on the Air Force’s analysis of both qualitative (we ranked “high”) and quantitative (we ranked #1) factors. As Redstone and Alabama often do, we prevailed over fierce competition. Secretary Barrett emphasized that locating U.S. Space Command at Redstone Arsenal was in the long-term best interest of national security. When I discussed with Secretary Barrett where Alabama could improve for future competitions, Secretary Barrett said Alabama needs improvement in the quality of its state-wide school system (she was very pleased with the quality of RSA area schools) and could improve on the transferability of occupational licenses. It’s important to the military that military spouses be able to easily resume their licensed occupations when relocating from one state to another. Easing occupational license transfers is something that needs doing by the legislature to make Alabama even more competitive in the future.”
Brooks added, “Roughly 1,400-1,600 military and civilian personnel are expected to work at U.S. Space Command HQs. There will be untold indirect jobs added on top of that. The Tennessee Valley did not win the U.S. Space Command HQ competition overnight. Rather, this victory is the culmination of hard work and leadership offered by community leaders, and federal, state and local officials who have worked over the decades to make the Tennessee Valley one of the best places in the world to live.”
Brooks concluded, “I must add a cautionary note. Today’s announcement is akin to a business acquisition’s “Letter of Intent”. Due diligence (such as environmental impact statements) will be conducted over the next two years to ensure there are no unexpected barriers to Space Command HQ’s location at Redstone Arsenal. The Space Command HQ’s final location decision will likely be in 2023. While Secretary of the Air Force Barrett emphasized to me that her location decision was based solely on merit and the interests of national security, it is unknown whether her merit-based decision will hold up and be respected by the Biden/Harris Administration and Congress. I hope the Biden/Harris administration will not duplicate the overall approach of the Obama/Biden administration, wherein all-too-often the answers to questions such as this were: “Blue state: YES! Purple state: Likely or maybe. Red state: Unlikely or NO!” Partisan politics should not play a role in national security. Time will tell what happens in a red state when the federal government is totally dominated by Democrats.”
What is U.S. Space Command? A combatant command (COCOM) is, according to the Congressional Research Service, a “military command with broad continuing missions under a single commander and composed of significant assigned components of two or more military departments.” COCOMs have responsibility for military operations in their respective area of responsibility at all times. U.S. Space Command will be a “functional” combatant command, operating without geographical boundaries, and providing space-based capabilities to the geographical combatant commands such as U.S. Southern Command, U.S. Africa Command, and U.S. Northern Command to name a few.
How does U.S. Space Command differ from U.S. Space Force? While combatant commands have responsibility for military operations, the military departments (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Space Force), which are based at the Pentagon, are responsible for organizing, training, and equipping forces to the combatant commands.