Press Releases

ICYMI: Hickenlooper Calls Out Alabama Delegation for Harming Military, Holding Service Members’ Bonuses and Permanent Change of Station Moves Hostage

Jul 17, 2023

In case you missed it, the Military TimesPunchbowl Newsthe Colorado Springs Gazette, and others reported that House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers is blocking the Department of Defense from transferring funds to cover a shortfall in the military’s budget in an effort to force a decision on the permanent headquarters of Space Command. The hold will impact all military branches, and has already forced the Air Force to delay re-enlistment bonuses and planned station moves for personnel.

Hickenlooper released a statement on Rogers’ blocking of DoD’s reprogramming request calling for an end to the hold.

Rogers’ actions come on the heels of U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville’s hold on confirming over 250 military nominations and promotions. Hickenlooper released a video on social media denouncing both Tuberville’s and Rogers’ actions. 

Military Times: Funding shortfall forces delays in some airmen’s PCS moves and bonuses

A funding shortfall has forced the Air Force to delay some permanent change of station moves, Selective Reenlistment Bonuses and other cash incentives for airmen, officials said today.

The shortfall is driven by higher than projected personnel costs, said Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek. The Air Force is taking the actions to avoid running out of funds, she said.

In any given year, the Air Force may ask Congress for authority to reprogram funds for various reasons when there is a shortfall in one area. But this year, according to one source, the request hasn’t been approved due to a political fight spat between the Colorado and Alabama congressional delegations over the administration’s delay in deciding where U.S. Space Command headquarters will be located.

Military.com: Alabama Lawmaker Blocks Pentagon Budget Moves to Force Decision on Space Command Basing

An Alabama lawmaker is holding up the military’s ability to move around budgeted funds and cover funding shortfalls because the Air Force hasn’t announced whether U.S. Space Command will be permanently located in his state.

The move by Rep. Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the powerful House Armed Services Committee, has put the Air Force in a bind as it faces a personnel funding shortfall and looks to extend some deployments and pause some bonuses. Rogers said Friday he is holding up reprogramming requests that could relieve the money woes because the service hasn’t confirmed the command’s move to Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville.

Despite telling some news outlets earlier in the week that accusations of him holding up reprogramming requests over the Space Command basing decision were a “misrepresentation of the HASC processes,” asked Friday by Military.com if that’s what he’s doing, Rogers replied, “I am.”

“All the Air Force has got to do is make an announcement,” Rogers said. “I don’t care what the announcement is. Make an announcement. They’ve had 13 months since the inspector general finished reviewing it and said there was no political interference. Make an announcement.”

Colorado Springs Gazette: EDITORIAL: Space Command battle gets uglier

The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee has stooped to burdening military personnel in his attempt to move Space Command from Colorado Springs to his home state of Alabama.

Armed Services Chair Mike Rogers, R-Alabama, abused his chairmanship in May by suggesting Space Command cease any progress until moved to Alabama. This advice, while potentially helpful to Rogers’ Alabama approval numbers, flies against the best interests of our country’s national defense. Space Command is in a race to keep up with foreign aggressors and has no time to spare.

It is a sad day when the chairman of Armed Services imposes harm on our military so he can win acclaim in Sweet Home Alabama. As chairman of Armed Services, Rogers should hold the safety and security of all 50 states as his highest value.

If national security were the chairman’s highest cause, he would never consider harming military recruitment by denying signing bonus funds. He would do nothing to interfere with the critical work at Space Command or any part of our military establishment. He would never play games with our military assets.

In holding up the funds, Rogers brought out some of the best in our own Sen. John Hickenlooper.

“Chairman Mike Rogers’ decision to block the Department of Defense from routinely reallocating funds is dangerous and harmful,” Hickenlooper wrote in a statement. “The Alabama delegation is holding our military service members hostage. They are risking our national security to get what they want.”

He continued: “This is not how our nation should make basing decisions. Period. It is, however, how you penalize our troops for the sake of narrow political interests,” Hickenlooper wrote.

Well stated, senator. Alabama should not hold our military hostage to commandeer a new command. Rogers should stop abusing the military to benefit his home state. And, of course, this is not how we should make basing decisions.

Punchbowl News: HASC Chair Rogers blocking all Pentagon reprogramming requests

House Armed Services Committee Chair Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) is blocking all Defense Department reprogramming requests in order to force a final decision on the U.S. Space Command headquarters, according to documents we obtained and sources familiar with Rogers’ move.

It represents a significant escalation as he pushes the Pentagon to officially name Huntsville, Ala., as the home base for Space Command.

Space Command is temporarily headquartered in Colorado. That state’s lawmakers are calling for it to remain there despite a previous recommendation by the department that its permanent home be constructed in Huntsville. The Pentagon is still reviewing the Trump-era decision.

The Military Times reported last week that the dispute over the Space Command basing decision was at the center of one yet-to-be-approved reprogramming request centering on Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders and bonuses for members of the Air Force.

But it actually goes much further than just this one reprogramming request. And it’s Rogers who is standing in the way of all pending requests, sources involved in the discussions told us. The Pentagon is raising alarm about the issue to Congress, noting that it’s also stunting hypersonics development, according to the documents we obtained.

So Rogers is using his leverage as Armed Services Committee chairman to force the Pentagon to complete the review and officially name Huntsville as the HQ for Space Command — joining Tuberville in holding up matters that are usually routine.

CPR: Moves and bonuses for Air Force personnel are being held up by congressional inaction

The Air Force is facing a funding shortfall that could prevent some of the summer moves for personnel, known as a permanent change of station, as well as delay some reenlistment bonuses.

Any airman who doesn’t have PCS orders by Aug. 1 may see their moves delayed. The Air Force is also suspending the elective reenlistment bonus program for the time being.

As of 2021, there were just over 9,300 active duty Air Force personnel in Colorado.

It’s not just Air Force funding, but all military reprogramming requests that have been held up.

The delay is not going over well with Sen. John Hickenlooper.

“Chairman Mike Rogers’ decision to block the Department of Defense from routinely reallocating funds is dangerous and harmful,” he said in a statement. “This is not how our nation should make basing decisions. Period. It is, however, how you penalize our troops for the sake of narrow political interests.”

Colorado Springs Gazette: Alabama lawmaker holds up DoD funding over Space Command

The Air Force is suspending some bonuses and putting some base reassignments on hold, after an Alabama lawmaker blocked a routine request from the Department of Defense to reallocate funds.

U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper called out U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, for blocking a routine request for reallocation of funds across the Department of Defense to force a decision on the permanent home for Space Command. The delay that has already caused problems for the Air Force is “dangerous and harmful,” Hickenlooper said.

“The Alabama delegation is holding our military service members hostage. They are risking our national security to get what they want,” Hickenlooper said, in a statement. “This is not how our nation should make basing decisions. Period. It is, however, how you penalize our troops for the sake of narrow political interests.”

The Air Force is the first military branch to be impacted by Rogers’ decision to hold up approval of the routine reallocation of funds and took measures Monday because it is facing a shortfall in its personnel budget. 

The Air Force Academy, Peterson Space Force Space and Schriever Space Force Base, Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command all employ airmen in Colorado Springs.

KKTV Colorado Springs: Impact on Colorado-based Service Members

According to a new report, the ongoing political firestorm over Space Command’s permanent location is behind the Air Force’s recent move to pause bonuses impacting thousands of service members, according to Colorado Senator John Hickenlooper. 

We checked with the Air Force, and was told that this will not affect PCS orders for Guardians, but there are nearly 150 Airmen at Colorado Space Force Bases who may be affected.

Senator Hickenlooper is calling out an Alabama lawmaker saying he is responsible for blocking a routine budget issue that he says is now impacting thousands of service members, claiming that Alabama’s House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers blocked the funds.

Hickenlooper issued a statement saying in part: “the Alabama delegation is holding our military service members hostage. They are risking our national security to get what they want.” 

Hickenlooper adds that this is not how our nation should be basing decisions. Alabama lawmakers are asking for a full review and a final decision on Space Command.

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