The United States Department of Defense’s unified combatant command, known as USSPACECOM or SPACECOM, is in charge of all military activities carried out in space, specifically, those that take place 62 miles (100 kilometers) above mean sea level. The operational use of space forces provided by the Department of Defense’s uniformed services is the responsibility of U.S. Space Command.
Initially established in September 1985, Space Command’s primary roles included coordinating with other combatant commands and providing a joint command structure for all military units operating in space. United States Strategic Command took over the duties and resources of SPACECOM after it was disestablished in 2002. On August 29, 2019, a new iteration of Space Command with a reemphasized emphasis on space as a domain for fighting wars was established.
According to a draft environmental assessment provided by the Department of the Air Force on July 13, the proposed move of the United States Space Command to Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, was going to have “no substantial impacts on the human or natural environment.”
The five additional locations that the Air Force determined to be “acceptable alternatives” were Peterson Space Force Base in Colorado, Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, Port San Antonio in Texas, and Space Coast Spaceport in Florida. At any of these other places, no environmental effects were discovered. Currently headquartered in Peterson is U.S. Space Command.
The National Environmental Policy Act stipulates that these reviews be conducted. A 30-day public feedback period follows the publishing of the draft document. Before choosing a final location for the command’s headquarters, the environmental evaluation will take into consideration any feedback.
The responsibility for delivering satellite-based capabilities to the American military and guarding such resources against external threats falls within the purview of Space Command. Colorado lawmakers have contested the choice of Redstone Arsenal as the favored site for the headquarters of the United States Space Command in January 2021. The Government Accountability Office and the Inspector General of the Department of Defense have both examined the decision-making process.
Before making a final choice, the Secretary of the Air Force will assess concerns raised by the Defense department IG and GAO that its selection process did not sufficiently account for how long it would take for the Space Command headquarters to move and achieve “full operational capability.”
The Air Force stated on July 13 that other problems will be examined before a final decision is made, including the analysis criteria for “childcare, housing affordability, and availability to military/veteran support, to ensure that selection of the preferable choice was justified.”
Colorado lawmakers claim that the previous president Trump unlawfully influenced the choice and that the Air Force’s basing procedure failed to adequately take into consideration the worries of top military officials that the relocation would delay Space Command’s efforts to attain full operational capability as quickly as possible.