House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-AL), angered by President Biden's recent decision to keep U.S. Space Command headquartered in politically blue Colorado instead of moving it to deep-red Alabama, is demanding that senior Pentagon officials comply with his requests for documents and interviews as he launches an investigation into the matter.
Rogers, in a new letter to Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall and SPACECOM chief Gen. James Dickinson, alleges that both officials have failed to adequately respond to his previous oversight requests involving the SPACECOM decision.
“Your refusal to abide by the committee’s repeated requests for responsive documents and transcribed interviews can only be considered obfuscation and purposeful delay, highlighted by the fact that the basing decision was decided while the committee’s requests are outstanding,” he wrote. “This is unacceptable.”
Rogers said it “now appears you have something to hide, otherwise a forthright response to the committee’s patient and numerous requests would have already come.”
The chairman tells the senior DOD officials if they don't comply with his request for documents and transcribed interviews, he will seek a subpoena -- and their appearance before the committee -- to compel their cooperation.
The Pentagon did immediately respond to a request for comment.
In the letter, Rogers says the documents DOD has provided thus far are unsatisfactory.
“Regrettably, this most recent document production remains unresponsive to the committee’s multiple requests,” he wrote. “This is now the fifth request for documents related to USSPACECOM’s mission or headquarters requirements.”
Rogers says Kendall and Dickinson have also failed to respond to the committee’s request to schedule transcribed interviews of them by August 18. He asks the officials to provide a timeline by which they will deliver “responsive documents” and schedule their transcribed interviews by Aug. 9.
The Pentagon announced Monday that SPACECOM would remain headquartered in Colorado Springs, CO, reversing an earlier decision made in the final days of the Trump administration that would have based it in Huntsville, AL.
The command, which is on track to reach full operational capability later this year, is anticipated to bring in 1,400 troops and their families, along with civilian employees and contractors -- nearly 65% of which are currently in Colorado.
Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Defense Department’s chief spokesman, released a statement after the news broke saying the decision was made after “a thorough and deliberate evaluation process.”
But Rogers and other lawmakers from GOP-dominated Alabama have alleged that “far-left” politics are at play involving abortion policy and the previous presidential contest in which Colorado’s electoral college votes went to Biden.
However, Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), along with Colorado lawmakers, felt differently about the announcement that would keep SPACECOM based in his home state.
“I commend the Biden administration for prioritizing national security above political interests and keeping USSPACECOM in its rightful home at Peterson Air Force Base,” he said in a statement. “This decision aligns with the best military advice of countless senior military leaders who all agree that Peterson Space Force Base is the most viable option for USSPACECOM to reach full operational capability the fastest and is the best permanent home for its long-term operations.”