Rogers Threatens Subpoena for USSPACECOM Documents

Rogers Threatens Subpoena for USSPACECOM Documents

The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee is threatening to subpoena DOD officials unless they provide documents relating to the decision to locate U.S. Space Command in Colorado instead of Alabama. President Biden finally made the decision to keep it in Colorado on Monday to the dismay of Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) and others in the Alabama congressional delegation.

The battle over where to permanently locate the headquarters of U.S. Space Command, one the 11 Unified Combatant Commands, has been ongoing since former President Trump reestablished it in August 2019. Its temporary home has been Colorado Springs, CO where a number of other national security space facilities are located.

After a lengthy internal process and a meeting with Trump seven days before he left office in January 2021, the Air Force announced USSPACECOM would move to Huntsville, AL. Critics argued it was a political decision to reward Alabama for supporting Trump in the 2020 presidential election. Supporters countered that Huntsville rated much higher than Colorado Springs in the Air Force’s basing review process.

The contest is bipartisan pitting the Alabama and Colorado congressional delegations against each other based on state, not party, interests.

Rogers and other members of the Alabama congressional delegation vehemently insist the Air Force’s basing decision process put Huntsville at the top of the list and Colorado Springs at number five. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), who chairs HASC’s Strategic Forces subcommittee, and other Coloradans insist it should stay put to ensure it reaches full operational capability as soon as possible. As soon as President Biden assumed office, the Colorado delegation asked him to take a second look at the decision.

On Monday, two-and-a-half years later, he finally announced USSPACECOM will stay in Colorado. Multiple news sources report that Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall wanted to move it to Huntsville while USSPACECOM Commander Gen. James Dickinson urged that it remain in Colorado Springs for readiness reasons and Biden sided with Dickinson.

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, at an April 27, 2023 hearing on national security space programs. Screengrab.

Rogers immediately lambasted the decision and said “the fight is far from over.”

He took a first step in that fight today writing to Kendall and Dickinson to demand “transcribed interviews and documents related to USSPACECOM headquarters and mission requirements.”  He said this was the fifth request, but what’s been provided so far is “unresponsive.”

“Your refusal to abide by the Committee’s repeated requests for responsive documents and transcribed interviews can only be considered obfuscation and purposeful delay, highlighted by the fact that the basing decision was decided while the Committee’s requests are outstanding. This is unacceptable.

“It now appears you have something to hide, otherwise a forthright response to the Committee’s patient and numerous requests would have already come. 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 directed that they “provide a timeline to deliver responsive documents and finalize logistics for the requested transcribed interviews no later than August 9, 2023.”

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