Colorado’s Aerospace Alley prepares for Space Command move

State

From left, Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, unfurl the U.S. Space Command flag during a ceremony to establishment of the U.S. Space Command in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — When Kathy Boe heard the news in January that President Donald Trump was moving the headquarters of U.S. Space Command from Colorado Springs to Huntsville, Alabama, she understood why Trump was making the move — even though she expected Colorado Springs to be the frontrunner in the race.

“We kind of knew they were our biggest competitor all along,” said Boe, the founder and CEO of Colorado Springs-based aerospace company Boecore.

Boe started her company in her Colorado Springs basement 21 years ago. The business, which designs software for military space and missile defense projects, now employs 275 people in the city.

Since that time, Boe’s business has also expanded to other locations, including Huntsville. The Boecore office there opened 12 years ago, and Boe said there has been plenty of private and public sector military work going on between the two cities for decades. Boe has even advocated for the Colorado Springs Airport to add a direct flight to Huntsville.

The Army’s Redstone Arsenal, near Huntsville, is host to a number of federal military installations, including the Missile Defense Agency, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and Army Space and Missile Defense Command. After Trump’s decision, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey called the region “the most natural choice” for U.S. Space Command.

Yet, Colorado’s top elected representatives, including the state’s entire congressional delegation, cried foul. They argued the Defense Department’s space assets in Colorado focused on operating military satellites are a far more logical fit for the work done through the Space Command mission. Plus, they pointed out, Peterson Air Force base has already been effectively hosting the command since it was re-established in 2019 and moving it would lead to a costly duplication of resources.

Colorado’s political leaders saw Trump’s move as an overtly partisan one, meant to pacify two Republican senators ahead of a heated vote on whether to convict the former President on impeachment charges.

In February, the Defense Department — operating under new President Joe Biden — announced it would investigate the circumstances behind Trump’s Space Command decision.

News of the investigation left Colorado politicians cheering. Governor Jared Polis said the investigation could help “restore integrity” to the flawed and “fiscally irresponsible” decision. Senators Michael Bennet And John Hickenlooper put out a joint statement that said moving the command to Alabama would jeopardize national security.

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