DOD IG to assess SPACECOM basing decision

By Shelley K. Mesch / March 1, 2024 at 4:32 PM

The Defense Department inspector general has opened an investigation into last year's decision to keep U.S. Space Command based in Colorado Springs, CO, which Republican lawmakers have blasted as a politically motivated choice.

As ordered by the Fiscal Year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act, the IG will evaluate the “roles and processes of DOD leadership prior to the decision” to keep SPACECOM in place, the office announced yesterday.

SPACECOM’s headquarters has been a contentious and partisan subject since the Air Force announced in 2021 -- during the last days of then-President Trump’s term -- that the command would relocate to Huntsville, AL. Since then, Democrats and some Colorado lawmakers have claimed Trump was moving the base only to show favoritism for a state that voted for his reelection.

President Biden announced last summer that he would keep the HQ in place -- which, in part, enabled SPACECOM to reach full operational capability in December. Republicans and Alabama lawmakers -- including House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-AL) -- have since pushed for further investigation, claiming Biden was playing politics in his own decision-making.

The FY-24 NDAA fenced funding for building new headquarters buildings until June, pending reviews by both the Government Accountability Office and the IG.

The Government Accountability Office in August announced its investigation into the HQ choice after receiving a request from Rogers.

The IG and GAO have in previous reports from 2022 found Trump’s decision to be lawful. The IG recommended the Air Force create standard guidance for future for basing decisions, and GAO found “significant shortfalls in the transparency and credibility” of the Air Force’s search process while also calling for standard guidance.