John Suthers

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers reacts on Thursday, June 2, 2022 to a Government Accountability Office report released earlier that day concluding that the Trump administration's decision to relocate U.S. Space Command lacked credibility and transparency.

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said a Government Accountability Office report released Thursday concluding that the Trump administration's decision to relocate U.S. Space Command lacked credibility and transparency gives the Biden administration "all the ammunition that's needed" to reverse it.

"It would be hard to imagine a report that's less enthusiastic about the decision that was made by the Trump administration," Suthers told reporters gathered downtown Thursday afternoon.

The GAO found "significant shortfalls" in the "transparency and credibility" of the process that led up to the decision in January 2021 to move Space Command headquarters from Colorado Springs to Huntsville, Ala., confirming what some congressional leaders who received an early look at the report told The Gazette in April.

"The GAO report today confirmed what we have stated throughout — that the process that recommended moving Space Command out of Colorado Springs was vastly flawed," Suthers said, in part, in an email to The Gazette. "... The report specifically gave low scores in three of the four assessment categories covering documentation, credibility and bias."

Suthers said he wasn't surprised by the report's findings and asserted moving Space Command presents national security risks, particularly as war continues in Ukraine.

"I think that’s what these individuals are indicating. ... Keep in mind at the time that this decision was made there wasn’t a war in eastern Europe. We now have a war in eastern Europe. It’s very clear that Ukrainians are relying on a lot of information ... available to us, our space assets," he said. "The notion that we would suffer any interruption in our capabilities, that’s a big deal and we shouldn’t be tolerating that."

On Thursday, Suthers called on the Biden administration to confirm Colorado Springs as the permanent home of U.S. Space Command.

Most importantly, Suthers said, no funding has yet backed the command's move to Huntsville.

"There’s two aspects to this: The executive branch makes the decision. The legislative branch funds the decision. As of this point in time ... no money has been expended in support of a move to Huntsville," he said. "... From a cost-saving perspective, leaving (Space Command in Colorado Springs) is clearly the right path."

The El Paso County Board of Commissioners also released a statement:

"The release of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report reinforces our concerns about the decision to uproot U.S. Space Command. The GAO report highlights the transparency and credibility concerns found in the decision process. We have maintained that keeping U.S. Space Command in Colorado Springs will be the least costly to taxpayers and most beneficial to national security."

Reporter

Breeanna Jent covers El Paso County government. She previously worked as the editorial assistant for the Pikes Peak Newspapers and joined their sister paper, The Gazette, in 2020.

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