Biden Space Force

FILE - In this May 15, 2020, file photo, Chief Master Sgt. Roger Towberman displays his insignia during a presentation of the United States Space Force flag in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. President Joe Biden has been working quickly to undo many initiatives by his predecessor. But Donald Trump's space-faring military service, Space Force, seems likely to survive. Space Force was created in December 2019 and is still in its infancy. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

It ain’t rocket science to persuade President Joe Biden how former President Donald Trump was wrong. With that in mind, Democratic Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper should insist on an immediate, in-person meeting with Biden. Topic: Space Command, nothing more.

The meeting should include Gov. Jared Polis, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, appropriate members of Congress, and experts on military space operations. Meeting early next week is none too soon. If our congressional members cannot get this meeting, Coloradans should seriously question the delegation’s influence.

A meeting with presidential advisers or a cabinet member is not good enough. This is the commander in chief’s decision, and Colorado’s leaders must persuade him, in person with masks and COVID-safe handshakes, to do the right thing for national security. Answer the president’s questions and make Colorado’s case on the basis of irrefutable facts that favor leaving Space Command in place.

Bennet coordinated a letter Tuesday to Biden signed by him, Hickenlooper, and all seven of Colorado’s House members. It asks Biden to “conduct a thorough review of the Trump administration’s last-minute decision to move U.S. Space Command from Colorado Springs” to Huntsville, Ala. Trump’s decision was seemingly political and should not require a drawn-out study. The Pentagon conducted thorough due diligence and has the information Biden needs.

The letter, though necessary and appropriate, is not enough. Congressional letters to presidents have little more value than spam. Bennet, Hickenlooper, and Democratic Reps. Jason Crow, Diana DeGette, Joe Neguse, and Ed Perlmutter should leverage every logical angle conceivable to achieve the proper outcome. They must play political chess. Voters will judge Colorado’s politicians by their ability, or inability, to get the proper result.

The president should have a hospitable attitude toward five of seven Colorado representatives who had his back on Jan. 6, the day six of Alabama’s seven House members challenged his electoral votes. Hickenlooper and Bennet gave generous support to Biden’s campaign after ending their respective presidential pursuits. Rep. Ken Buck, Colorado’s Republican Party chair, also opposed a challenge to Biden’s electoral votes. Colorado could hand Biden a crosspartisan, pro-military, pro-freedom, strong-national-defense photo op in the Oval Office.

Biden barely has control of the Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris giving his party a one-vote majority in her role as Senate president. Given the moderate agendas of several Democratic senators, Biden needs the enthusiastic leadership of safe blue-state senators, notably Bennet and Hickenlooper, to ensure the success of his legislative agenda.

Like it or not, Washington decisions are intractably political. Biden has nothing to gain by upholding and tolerating Trump’s order to move Space Command to the solidly red state of Alabama.

He has good reasons, politically and strategically, to keep the command in a state that overwhelmingly supports him and rejected Republican Sen. Cory Gardner — who had a significant record of achievement — for supporting Trump.

Biden began reversing Trump’s decisions his first day in office, signing a record-breaking 17 orders and memorandums. Most of the decisions directly or indirectly reverse major Trump policies. One defunds border wall construction. Another includes immigrants here illegally in the census count. A memo tells heads of executive-branch agencies to halt “new or pending” rules enacted by Trump.

In 10 days, Biden has executed a record-breaking 45 unilateral actions that include 24 executive orders. By comparison, Trump signed a gasp-worthy six executive orders in his first 10 days; President Barack Obama, five; Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton each signed two.

One thing seems clear: If Trump decided it, Biden opposes it.

Given that Biden takes satisfaction in erasing Trump’s legacy, he should not let a decision stand that interrupts a space endeavor so vital to the military’s future.

By reversing the Space Command order, Biden would tell other world leaders who controls his country’s national defense. By letting Trump’s decision stand, Biden would leave a key component of military operations as a cornerstone of Trump’s legacy. Through conspicuous negligence or tacit approval of Trump’s order, Biden would weaken national defense.

Moving Space Command would mean abandoning billions of dollars worth of assets bought and paid for. It would mean spending billions, foolishly, to rebuild in territory hostile to Biden. It would mean disrupting an operation that cannot waste a moment catching up with and winning the global race to control space and protect freedom on Earth.

It would mean allowing what might be Trump’s least logical decision to control our military’s future in space.

As commander in chief, Biden has no responsibility greater than protecting the United States from enemies foreign and domestic. In the early 2020s, that means ensuring we have the world’s best, most dominant space-based defense system. The simplest way to achieve this goal is to leave Space Command where it belongs while funding and authorizing the Pentagon to take this mission to the stars.

Mayor Suthers, Colorado’s senators, Gov. Polis, Pentagon officials and House members must persuade the president to act immediately. They never have had a more important or globally significant task. Persuade our president, in person, to reverse Trump’s indulgent and dangerous Space Command decision. Simply ask and encourage him to do the right thing.

The Gazette Editorial Board

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