In a letter to President Joe Biden, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet said he is concerned about the security of American intelligence should the U.S. Space Command headquarters in Colorado Springs be relocated.
Bennet, D-Colo., and U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., sent the letter to Biden on Tuesday urging him to consider how the proposed relocation of the U.S. Space Command headquarters will affect the nation’s intelligence.
On Jan. 13, the U.S. Air Force, under the Trump administration, announced the Space Command headquarters would move from Colorado Springs to Huntsville, Alabama. The letter sent by Warner and Bennet expresses the senators’ concerns that the move will have a negative impact on the security of American intelligence.
Both senators are on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
“(We) are concerned this decision did not take into account how such a move may affect Intelligence Community (IC) dependencies and missions,” the letter says.
In an interview with The Durango Herald, Bennet said that while he could not comment about the discussions of the Intelligence Committee, there was enough concern about how the move would impact American intelligence that Warner, the chairman of the committee, felt compelled to sign the letter to the president.
Bennet said that because there is already an established “ecosystem” in Colorado around defense, intelligence and space missions, the state would be the most supportive and safe place for the Space Command headquarters.
“A lot of the mission of Space Command relates to the intelligence community,” Bennet said. “There is, in Colorado, an unparalleled nexus of military and intelligence space entities who have overlapping missions, and who are co-located in some cases, and that co-location ensures that the United States is best prepared to face threats in space.”
The letter also notes that a relocation effort would be costly for the government.
“The cost of relocating personnel as well as constructing a new headquarters would be around a billion dollars, at least,” Bennet said. “That money should be spent on our mission, which is urgent in space, both on the intelligence side and the defense side.”
The letter sent this week is one of three sent to Biden regarding the Space Command move that Bennet has signed.
On Jan. 26, the entire Colorado delegation signed a letter to Biden, urging him to suspend the move, citing national security as a concern. On March 30, Bennet and a bipartisan group of his Senate colleagues, including U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., sent a letter to the acting Department of Defense inspector general, Sean O’Donnell, requesting that four specific questions be included as part of an investigation into the Trump administration’s decision to move the U.S. Space Command.
The March 30 letter was brief, outlining only four questions the senators hoped would be answered during the Department of Defense’s investigation into the decision to move the Space Command.
Bennet said that while he does not know whether Biden would address the move and the controversies surrounding it, he does not think the move will happen.
“I obviously would love to have a decision made as soon as possible, but I understand that the administration is getting its feet under it,” Bennet told the Herald. “For the immediate future, Space Command will just keep doing what it’s always been doing. And it’ll be doing that in Colorado.”
The investigation into the Trump administration’s decision to move the mission is ongoing. Many, including Bennet, speculate that the decision to move Space Command was a political, and not a strategic, decision.
“This decision about where Space Command should be, should be based on our national security interests,” Bennet said. “I think that strongly suggests Colorado is the right place.”
Grace George is an intern for The Durango Herald and The Journal in Cortez and a student at American University in Washington, D.C.