Space Command Announces It’s Fully Operational, But Still Doesn’t Have A Headquarters

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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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U.S. Space Command (SPACECOM) was pronounced fully operational on Friday, although the White House and Congress continue to tussle over the location of the command’s final headquarters.

SPACECOM achieved preliminary operational capability in 2021, and commander U.S. Army Gen. James Dickinson has repeatedly stated that the organization would not be able to meet the requirements for becoming fully operational until a permanent headquarters was established, according to Defense News. However, after years of battling between two main states — Colorado and Alabama — a series of watchdog reviews and last-minute reversal from the Biden administration Republicans said were linked to abortion politics, the command still doesn’t have a home.

“As the command has matured, challenges to a safe, secure, stable, and sustainable space domain have significantly increased,” Dickinson said in a press release. “Both the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation are fielding counter space capabilities designed to hold U.S., Allied and partner space assets at risk. And North Korea and Iran are in the early stages of developing their space enterprise.” (RELATED: Tommy Tuberville Drops Hold On Hundreds Of Military Promotions)

A fully operational designation means SPACECOM is able to fully carry out its mission, allowing U.S. military branches and other combatant commands to take advantage of the space-based capabilities SPACECOM manages. Criteria for becoming operational include demonstrating an ability to carry out a full spectrum of operations and maintaining the necessary infrastructure and workforce to support those duties, according to Defense News.

Former President Donald Trump reinstated SPACECOM more than four years ago with a provisional headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Just before leaving office, his Air Force secretary designated Huntsville, Alabama, as the preferred host for the command.

Colorado GOP lawmakers called the process leading up to the decision “fundamentally flawed” and lambasted the president for lack of transparency. Two separate watchdog investigations found that, while the process was sloppy, the Air Force followed the law in making its final decision.

The Department of Defense (DOD) subsequently restarted the selection process, and Biden announced in July the headquarters would remain in Colorado.

Both Republican and Democrat lawmakers questioned Biden’s intervention in the final decision, reportedly on Dickinson’s advice.

Congress’ defense policy bill for fiscal year 2024, which awaits the president’s signature, would freeze funding for the Colorado Springs headquarters until government watchdogs complete further reviews.

Colorado Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn called Friday’s announcement “the pinnacle of more than four years of hard work by General Raymond, General Dickinson, and our Guardians” in a statement.

“This achievement continues to show that Colorado Springs is the right location for USSPACECOM for our nation’s readiness.”

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