WASHINGTON — House Armed Services Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Ala., threatened to subpoena the Defense Department for documents and interviews related to the Air Force’s decision to base U.S. Space Command Headquarters in Colorado.
Rogers, whose home state was in the running to host the military’s newest combatant command, in late May launched an investigation into the decision-making process. As part of the investigation, Rogers demanded that Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall, who spearheaded the basing effort, and Space Command head Gen. James Dickinson provide documentation surrounding the decision by early June.
In an Aug. 2 letter, Rogers said that while he has received some of the information, the officials’ response has not complied with the committee’s request.
“It now appears you have something to hide, otherwise a forthright response to the Committee’s patient and numerous requests would have already come,” Rogers said in what he said was his fifth attempt to retrieve the documentation. “If you fail to adequately respond, I will be forced to seek a subpoena for the relevant documents we have requested on multiple occasions, and to seek your compelled appearance.”
He called on Kendall and Dickinson to provide the remaining documents and schedule interviews with House Armed Services Committee staff no later than Aug. 9.
The letter comes on the heels of the White House’s July 31 announcement that it would permanently base Space Command at Peterson Space Force Base in Colorado Springs. The move reverses a 2021 Air Force decision to locate the headquarters in Huntsville, Ala., which is home to the Army’s Redstone Arsenal.
In a July 31 statement following the President Joe Biden’s announcement, Rogers accused the administration of “political meddling.”
“This fight is far from over,” Rogers said.
Notably, the abandoned 2021 decision to locate the command in Alabama, made during former President Donald Trump’s final days in office, drew similar accusations from the Colorado delegation. Those allegations triggered calls for independent reviews of the decision from the DoD Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office.
Both watchdog organizations found that while the basing process lacked transparency and credibility, the Air Force followed the law in choosing Alabama to host Space Command.
The Pentagon said in a July 31 statement that its basing decision, which will allow the command to maintain its provisional headquarters in Colorado, “ensures peak readiness.” Department Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said Aug. 1 that with the decision made, Space Command is poised to be fully operational later this month.
Courtney Albon is C4ISRNET’s space and emerging technology reporter. She has covered the U.S. military since 2012, with a focus on the Air Force and Space Force. She has reported on some of the Defense Department’s most significant acquisition, budget and policy challenges.