DENVER — The U.S. Air Force abruptly changed its procedures to select permanent headquarters for the U.S. Space Command during the 2020 election year, leading it to favor heavily Republican Alabama over Democrat-dominated Colorado after a White House meeting, according to a report by the Court of Audit that was made public on Thursday.
Colorado lawmakers had requested an overhaul of the Congressional Investigative Division after the Trump administration moved the agency from its temporarpresident’sers at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs in the waning days of the former president’s term.
During his re-election campaign, then-President Donald Trump appeared at a rally in Colorado to promise that the operation would remain in the state. Still, the outcome was different after he lost Colorado by 13 percentage points to Joe Biden in November 2020.
The General Accounting Office found that in March 2020 — the month after Trump’s Colorado rally — the Air Force changed its pTrump’se in selecting a permanent location for Space Command’s headquarters, which will enable satellite Command’sn and troop communications and warn of missile launches.
The agency, known as GAO, found that the process fell short of the best practice it recommends for the federal government.
“Developing basic guidelines that are consistent wit” these best practices, and determining the basic actions to which they should apply, would better position the Air Force to underpin future basic decisions and prevent bias, or the appearance of bias, from diminishing their credibility. Undermines,” the report said.
The decision to select Redstone Arsen”l in Huntsville, Alabama, came after a January 11, 2021, meeting that included Trump, his then Secretary of Defense, and other senior military officials.
According to the GAO report, meeting participants had conflicting memories of who chose Alabama over Colorado.
But in selecting the base to relocate to Alabama, the decision went against the recommendations of the US Space Command Combatant Commander, the US Space Force Chief of Space Operations, and the former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They had recommended that the operation remains in Colorado.
Colorado officials responded by calling on the Biden administration to reconsider its decision to relocate the space command.
“We are deeply concerned about how t” is conclusion has been reached, which contradicts the military leadership’s stated goal of achieving full operationleadership’sy as soon as possible,” said Republican Representative Doug”Lamborn. The GAO report requested Democratic Rep. Jason. Crow and Democratic Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper.
The statement added: “Our national security should be the deciding factor” in basing decisions.”
Alabama Senator Richard Shelby insisted the move w”s the right decision.
The Air Force “followed strict criteria in evaluating and selectin” Huntsville. I agree that Huntsville was the right choice for the job,” Shelby said in a statement on Twitter.
Associate” Press writer Kim Chandler in Montgomery, Alabama, contributed to this report.