Lamborn pushes for transparency in Space Command decision

February 3, 2021
In The News

By Andy Koen- KOAA News Channel 5

 

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — Congressman Doug Lamborn asked a government watchdog for greater transparency about the decision by the Air Force to name Redstone Arsenal in Alabama as the permanent home of US Space Command. The Colorado Springs Republican sent a letter to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) on Tuesday asking the organization to evaluate the methodology and scoring used in the process. The GAO provides auditing, evaluation, and investigative services for Congress.

 

"Many questions have been raised as to whether the decision was made on objective rather than political grounds," Mr. Lamborn said in a news release.

 

"The evaluation criteria for each metric has to have been applied evenly and consistently to each community," he continued. "Any deviations from this raises serious concerns as to whether or not this process was fair and if the best site was selected."

 

The request is the latest effort by elected leaders in Colorado to ask for greater transparency in the decision. Last week, both of Colorado's Senators and all seven Representatives sent a letter to President Joe Biden asking him to pause and review the decision-making process.

 

That letter points out a common criticism that's come up since the basing decision was announced on January 13, that the Secretary of Defense reopened the national search and changed the criteria in 2019.

 

"It is unclear why the Air Force slowed and eventually stopped its standard strategic basing process in 2019," the members of the Congressional Delegation wrote.

 

Dirk Draper, the President of the Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC shared that same frustration during a news conference held in response to the basing decision.

 

"We also have heard from forces inside the Air Force that Colorado Springs in this second phase was the number one ranked community for this location and that external pressure from the president was placed to award the permanent home of US Space Command to a state, once again, to a state to which the president has close political ties," Draper said at the time.

 

During his confirmation hearing in the US Senate, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was asked by Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico if he would look into the how the process that was used to reach the Space Command decision.

 

"I know you're not familiar with this decision in its details, but I would simply ask that if confirmed that you would take a close look at that process to make sure that it met the historical standards for a decision of that type," Sen Heinrich said.

 

"I'll do that, and I'll make sure that we look at all of our processes going forward so that future decisions are made within the policy confines that we've laid out," Austin replied.

 

News 5 asked a spokesperson for the Department of Defense's Office of the Inspector General whether any formal requests had been made of them concerning the Space Command basing decision. However, their reply only confirmed that they had not received the letter that was sent by Colorado's Congressional delegates to the President.