Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal to be permanent HQ of United States Space Command

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United States Space Command

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal has been named the preferred location of the permanent headquarters for the United States Space Command. The Secretary of the Air Force, on behalf of the Office of Secretary of Defense, on Wednesday made the announcement.

The Department of the Air Force conducted both virtual and on-site visits to assess which of six candidate locations would be best suited to host the U.S. Space Command Headquarters based on factors related to mission, infrastructure capacity, community support and costs to the Department of Defense.

It said Huntsville compared favorably across more of these factors than any other community, providing a large, qualified workforce, quality schools, superior infrastructure capacity and low initial and recurring costs. Additionally, Redstone Arsenal offered a facility to support the headquarters, at no cost, while the permanent facility is being constructed.

Albuquerque, New Mexico; Bellevue, Nebraska; Cape Canaveral, Florida; Colorado Springs, Colorado; and San Antonio, Texas, will remain reasonable alternative locations for the U.S. Space Command Headquarters. The preferred and reasonable alternative locations were chosen from among 24 states that were evaluated as potential locations for hosting the headquarters.

The Department of the Air Force said it anticipates making a final decision in spring 2023, pending the results from the required environmental impact analysis. Colorado Springs, Colorado, remains the provisional headquarters until the permanent location is ready to support the mission.

In late December, Governor Kay Ivey joined officials with Redstone Arsenal and the City of Huntsville on a call with Pentagon officials to give a final pitch for Huntsville. Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Instillations Bob Moriarity on Wednesday morning called Ivey to inform her of Secretary Barbara Barrett’s Space Command Headquarters preferred candidate basing decision.

“I couldn’t be more pleased to learn that Alabama will be the new home to the United States Space Command!” said Ivey. “Our state has long provided exceptional support for our military and their families as well as a rich and storied history when it comes to space exploration. This combination only enhances the outstanding relationships we have with the 65 diverse federal agencies on Redstone Arsenal, not to mention the growing presence of the FBI and other federal installations. The bottom line is simple, the Redstone Region is the most natural choice to become home to such an important mission for our country.”

Senator Richard Shelby, R-Alabama said, “Redstone Arsenal will be the new home to U.S. Space Command. This is outstanding news, not only for our state but also for the Air Force. This long-awaited decision by the Air Force is a true testament to all that Alabama has to offer. Huntsville is the right pick for a host of reasons – our skilled workforce, proximity to supporting space entities, cost-effectiveness, and quality of life, among other things. I am thrilled that the Air Force has chosen Redstone and look forward to the vast economic impact this will have on Alabama and the benefits this will bring to the Air Force.”

“Locating the United States Space Command in Huntsville is smart, because it’s already the center of our much of our nation’s space, military and strategic command capabilities. It’s also located near Washington; just one hour and 15 minutes by plane. The area also has a high quality, low cost of living for those who will be stationed here as part of the Command,” said Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Alabama. “Our space program was born, raised and came to greatness from Alabama soil. So, it’s only fitting that the next great incarnation of our leadership in space would be firmly planted here as well.”

Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Alabama said, “Today’s historic announcement that the Redstone Arsenal will be home to the permanent headquarters of the U.S. Space Force Command is fantastic news for Huntsville, the Tennessee Valley region and the entire state of Alabama. I’m pleased that the site selection team recognized the obvious: Redstone and Space Command are a perfect fit.

“Alabama is already widely recognized for its important contributions to our national defense, and this decision further elevates our state as a leader in space and defense technology. I applaud the work of the Huntsville community, State leaders, the Congressional delegation, and especially my colleague Sen. Richard Shelby, for helping make this decision a reality.

“There will be a lot of work to do in the years ahead to turn today’s announcement into a reality on the ground, and I look forward to working closely with state and local leaders, Alabama’s Congressional delegation, and the Department of Defense to fully and efficiently implement this basing decision. It will be one of my top priorities.”

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle expressed gratitude to everyone who supported the City’s efforts to bring the headquarters to Huntsville.

“The City of Huntsville, Alabama is honored that Redstone Arsenal has been named as the site for the United States Space Command,” said Battle.

“We are grateful to Senator Richard Shelby for his confidence in Huntsville. Senator Shelby has been front and center of this space effort from its inception. As one of our nation’s strongest defense advocates and most knowledgeable leaders in defense matters, Senator Shelby recognized the value of a program that would focus on space assets and threats. It is his vision to protect our country in space with a dedicated command.

“We thank the U.S. Air Force site selection team for choosing Redstone Arsenal from its final six candidate cities. This group was meticulous in its review and assessment of potential sites, and they put us through the paces in their research these past two years. We will make you proud of your decision.

“The site selection team recognized what we know to be true – Huntsville is a natural choice. We are space. We do space. From the Redstone Arsenal installation to the Space and Missile defense assets that are here, Huntsville has been the leader in all thing space since day one. From the 1950s when Explorer I went into space to the birthplace of NASA, space is in our DNA. We have built the space infrastructure and technical expertise to lead this effort.

“The site team learned about the Redstone region’s proven track record in relocating military commands to our community. Army Aviation moved here in 1995 and Army Materiel Command moved here in 2011. Our low cost of living and doing business means the country’s tax-paying dollar will stretch much farther, providing more valuable resources for our space effort and warfighter.

“We look forward to the partnership with U.S. Space Command and pledge to make them a success from day one.”

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Wendy Sack

wendy@cullmantribune.com