Politics appears to trump all as President Donald Trump leaves office. So, by all means, let’s play politics and keep what belongs in Colorado.
As most Air Force brass and others close to the military know, Trump jeopardized national security last week by transforming a tactical decision into a political game. Against common sense and the recommendation of Pentagon officials — including Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett — Trump ordered the removal of Space Command from Colorado Springs and its relocation to Huntsville, Ala.
The decision will cost taxpayers billions and bog down our country’s urgent need to catch up and get ahead of foreign enemies in the race to control space militarily. If the United States loses this race, space will become the purview of freedom’s enemies. One EMP could destroy a country’s communication network. It could cripple populations and cost millions of lives.
Trump, appearing increasingly unstable after losing in November, is willing to risk national sovereignty and public safety for the sake of rewarding political allies and punishing foes.
The math is simple. Colorado voters trounced Trump at the ballot box and foolishly replaced Republican Sen. Cory Gardner. Seven of Colorado’s nine congressional members declined to support Trump’s challenge of President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral votes.
By stark contrast, a whopping 62% of Alabama voters supported Trump and only 37% voted for Biden. Alabama replaced Democratic Sen. Doug Jones with Republican Tommy Tuberville, an avowed Trump loyalist. All six of Alabama’s House Republicans voted to challenge Biden’s electoral victory. All six opposed his second impeachment. In Trump’s view, Alabama is good and Colorado is bad.
Few, including Trump, dispute claims the Space Command decision was a middle finger to Colorado and a reward for Alabama.
Colorado Springs leaders, the Air Force, and an array of high-level military experts worked diligently for the past year to make the placement of Space Command a decision based on logistical reasoning, not emotion and politics. It did not work. Like most important decisions, it devolved into politics.
So, let’s play politics.
Biden takes office Wednesday. By the end of Friday, our new commander in chief would be wise — politically, tactically and militarily — to summarily reverse the Space Command decision.
“We’ll change their minds,” said Sen. John Hickenlooper, via text to The Gazette’s editorial board Wednesday.
“(Sen. Michael) Bennet and I talked to the secretary of the Air Force this afternoon (Barrett), and there are a lot of things that can’t be explained or don’t make sense … She agreed to let us go over every page of their ‘scoring’ framework. It will take time, but we’re not giving up.”
It should not take much time. If the most important component of this decision is national defense, there can be no question that Space Command belongs in Colorado. It is here with the benefit of assets worth billions.
The Air Force Academy, the institution far and away best suited for training and advancing the knowledge base of Space Command, is just outside Colorado Springs. A major private grant is funding a new space curriculum at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Northcom, NORAD, Schriever Air Force Base, a robust and growing aerospace and defense industry, the Space Foundation, and multiple other assets make Colorado the perfect host for this crucial command.
If politics outweigh all of that, as it stands, Colorado Springs still should win hands down for reasons immediately obvious.
Trump lost his reelection bid. Biden won. Colorado’s military and political leaders should remind Biden how Alabama trounced him in November. They rejected his fellow Democrat, Sen. Jones. They should remind our incoming president how six of Alabama’s seven House members tried to overturn his election. Anti-Biden Republicans control the Alabama House and Senate. With one selfish decision, Trump ordered Space Command into territory hostile to Biden.
It is an insult to Biden and one he had best not tolerate.
For Biden, by contrast, Colorado is nirvana. Pro-Biden Democrats control every statewide office. They control the state House and Senate, both U.S. Senate seats, and the state’s executive branch. Registered Democrats gain numbers on Republicans every day in Colorado.
State Senate Democrats led a bipartisan resolution on Friday reaffirming Colorado as the best location for Space Command. Next, we should see a hard appeal to Biden by Hickenlooper, Bennet, Democratic Gov. Jared Polis, Republican Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, Democratic Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, and other Colorado leaders. They should request to meet with Biden the day after his inauguration. They should offer their full support for a decision to reverse Trump’s dangerous parting shot at a pro-Biden state, a whimsical indulgence that will harm the rest of the country.
Change this decision, Mr. Biden, and enhance our country’s sovereignty and safety. Politically and strategically, it is the right thing to do.