“We shouldn’t risk our national security: we should keep Space Command in Colorado Springs.”
Hickenlooper: “Colorado Springs is the best place for Space Command because it’s already at work here, with tangible results, about which all of us should be proud.”
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper today spoke on the Senate floor to emphasize the urgency of keeping U.S. Space Command in Colorado Springs.
For full video of Hickenlooper’s remarks, click HERE.
“Senator Tuberville wants to make this about politics. Senator Bennet and I want to make it about national security,” Hickenlooper said on the Senate floor.
“This April, Space Command took another giant step forward when General Dickinson, who is in charge of leading these efforts, announced that U.S. Space Command will reach full operational capability by the end of the year at its current location in Colorado Springs…”
“General Dickinson’s announcement underscores just how dangerous it would be to rubber stamp former President Trump’s reckless political decision to move Space Command from its current location in Colorado.”
To download full video of Hickenlooper’s remarks, click HERE. A transcript is available below:
“Space Command has been in the news lately. A final decision may be forthcoming soon. But the reported rationale behind that decision is misguided.
“There are rumors out there that the fact that this basing process is about a variety of issues, but really there is only one thing: “What is in the best interest of our national security?”
“The reports focus on the draconian laws of Alabama and Senator Tuberville’s decision to bar military promotions. I’ve always been a strong advocate for reproductive rights, especially among service members, and I vehemently disagree with Senator Tuberville and his decision to hold nearly 200 general and flag officer nominations hostage. A hold that directly affects military readiness.
“These nominees are waiting to take their new commands, move their families, and carry out their missions that they were trained to lead. They need to sell [and] leave the homes they’re in. They can’t buy new homes – they can’t do anything until their promotion is confirmed.
“These are important issues, but we can’t conflate these issues with Space Command for the simple reason that our military should never be politicized.
“Senator Tuberville wants to make this about politics. Senator Bennet and I want to make it about national security.
“And space capabilities are absolutely essential to our national security. Whether you’re talking about GPS for ground-based operations; or secure communication systems for maritime navigation;
“Every single domain in which the U.S. acts in the name of national defense, be it on land, air, cyber, maritime–you name it–depends on our ability to operate in space.
“The entity responsible for coordinating these operations is U.S. Space Command, which was first established in Colorado Springs back in 1985, and formally stood up as a full combatant command in 2019.
“Over the past three and a half years, the brilliant team at Space Command headquarters in Colorado have set the standard for U.S. expertise in space.
“They’re building out our understanding of the global threat landscape, investing in our response capabilities, and hitting key readiness milestones, including reaching Initial Operating Capability back in August of 2021.
“This April, Space Command took another giant step forward when General Dickinson, who is in charge of leading these efforts, announced that U.S. Space Command will reach full operational capability by the end of the year at its current location in Colorado Springs.
“Full operational capability.
“In other words, Space Command is on the verge of achieving full mission readiness in record time.
“That’s an incredible achievement, and full credit goes to General Dickinson and the men and women on the front lines of U.S. space leadership.
“General Dickinson’s announcement underscores just how dangerous it would be to rubber stamp former President Trump’s reckless political decision to move Space Command from its current location in Colorado.
“Moving headquarters requires that we build new facilities, install secure communications infrastructure, and relocate or rehire our existing workforce.
“Congress has never received an estimate for how much this would cost, even before factoring in the impact on national security. That’s neither efficient nor strategic.
“It would take years, YEARS, to replicate the milestone of full operational capability. And every single member of this body knows that we simply don’t have that luxury. We don’t have that kind of time.
“We don’t have years while Russia is waging a brutal and ruthless war in Ukraine.
“We don’t have years while China is developing advanced hypersonic weapons and threatening to invade Taiwan.
“We don’t have years while Iran and North Korea are attempting to undermine our cyber security.
“Right now, the United States is being challenged from every angle. Now is not the time to tie our hands and announce to our rivals that we’re intentionally stepping back from being fully operational in space.
“It is not the time to announce to the world that we’ll let partisan politics interfere with our military decision making.
“The arrival of U.S. Space Command on the cusp of reaching full operational capability in Colorado Springs should be received by the entire Senate as a remarkable achievement, one that strengthens our national security and one that expands our military might.
“Space Command’s formal establishment as a full combatant command in 2019 came not a moment too soon.
“Just over two years later, Russia conducted a direct-ascent anti-satellite weapons test, which created thousands of pieces of debris that Space Command has been tracking ever since.
“A few months later, information gathered by U.S. satellites helped the intelligence community to sound the alarm that Putin was amassing thousands of troops on Russia’s border with Ukraine.
“Satellites have spotted the massive construction of suspected nuclear missile silos by China’s People’s Liberation Army, as well as the illegal buildup of PLA bases in the South China Sea.
“A brazen breach of international law and proof-positive that CCP’s threat to Taiwan is real.
“Satellites directly facilitate our communications, our critical infrastructure, navigation, and banking systems, as well as countless other technologies that we use every single day without even thinking twice.
“There’s no question President Trump’s decision to move Space Command to Alabama was political. No question. Don’t take my word for it, President Trump said so himself on live radio.
“Take it from Republican Mayor John Suthers, the former Republican Attorney General for the state of Colorado, who personally heard Trump say, in the presence of a four-star general, that he wanted to see how the 2020 election turned out before making a final decision on the location of Space Command.
“That’s politics interfering with military decisions.
“Take it from our senior military leaders whose best professional judgment led them to all recommend Colorado.
“Colorado Springs is the best place for Space Command because it’s already at work here, with tangible results, about which all of us should be proud.
“We shouldn’t risk our national security. We should keep Space Command in Colorado Springs where it belongs.“