In the latest bid to encourage the Biden Administration to cancel plans to relocate U.S. Space Command headquarters from Colorado Springs to Huntsville, Ala., members of Colorado's congressional delegation on Wednesday formally invited Vice President Kamala Harris, who chairs the National Space Council, for a visit.
"As you work to identify the Council’s priorities, we invite you to visit Colorado to experience firsthand the dynamism of our state’s private and public space industry," reads a bipartisan letter spearheaded by Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet and signed by all but one of Colorado's federal lawmakers.
Pointing to the state's robust space-related economy — the largest in the country on a per capita basis, the letter says — as well as top-notch higher ed institutions, a concentration of aerospace contractors and more than its share of intelligence and military facilities devoted to the U.S. mission in outer space, the Colorado lawmakers ask Harris to "see how our state leads the country in space security, innovation, and education."
The letter reads: "The ongoing success of these missions and installations in assessing and mitigating vulnerabilities in space further reaffirms Colorado as the best permanent home for the U.S. Space Command. At a time when the threats in this domain are growing by the day, our nation can ill-afford the delay, expense, and attrition associated with relocating Space Command."
Advocates of reversing a decision made in the waning days of the Trump administration to relocate the command from its current home in Colorado have been waging a full-court press in hopes of persuading the Biden Administration to reconsider the move.
In addition to Bennet, the letter was signed by fellow Democrats U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper and U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette, Joe Neguse, Jason Crow and Ed Perlmutter, as well as Republicans U.S. Reps. Ken Buck and Doug Lamborn, whose district includes the command's temporary headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base.
Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert declined to sign the letter, a Bennet spokeswoman said.
The Gazette and other publications have reported that then-President Donald Trump picked Alabama over objections from senior military leaders, though the Pentagon has so far stood by the decision and Biden hasn't commented publicly.
Boebert, a staunch Trump ally, has been lobbing attacks at Harris for months over the vice president's role overseeing the Biden administration's response to the crush of migrants at the U.S. border with Mexico.
On Tuesday, Boebert posted a video online featuring a life-size cardboard cutout of Harris she carted to the southern border last week.
"She hasn't done a single thing to protect the American people," Boebert says in the video after referring to Harris as "cackling Kamala."
I went to the southern border to see what’s up, but I didn’t go alone... pic.twitter.com/m66fet7mUT— Rep. Lauren Boebert (@RepBoebert) June 8, 2021
Below is the letter to Harris from the other members of the delegation:
"Dear Madam Vice President:
"Congratulations on your recent appointment as Chair of the National Space Council. As you work to identify the Council’s priorities, we invite you to visit Colorado to experience firsthand the dynamism of our state’s private and public space industry.
"Colorado is the largest space economy per capita in the country. Our state is home to over 500 space-related companies and suppliers, including nine of the nation’s largest aerospace contractors. Colorado aerospace companies directly employ more than 30,000 people, while an additional 200,000 work in space-related jobs. This concentration of technical expertise from the Eastern Plains to the Western Slope drives cutting-edge innovation that benefits our entire country.
"As our nation’s space economy continues to grow, its future depends on dynamic education and research. Colorado is at the heart of this work. The U.S. Air Force Academy has the nation’s top undergraduate aerospace engineering program. The University of Colorado Boulder receives more NASA funding than any other public university. The Colorado School of Mines’ Space Resources Program is the world’s first multi-disciplinary graduate program focused on space resources. Across the state, there are 21 universities and institutions that participate in the Space Grant Consortium, providing students from all backgrounds an opportunity to partake in space research. With each investment Colorado makes in space education, our state contributes to a highly-trained workforce with the specialization necessary to ensure the nation’s primacy in space.
"Our skilled workforce is one of the primary reasons why Colorado is at the nexus of space operations for the Intelligence Community and the Department of Defense. Our state is home to the National Space Defense Center, U.S. Northern Command, North American Aerospace Defense Command, Cheyenne Mountain Air Station, Buckley Space Force Base, and the National Reconnaissance Office’s Aerospace Data Facility-Colorado. Eight of the nine current Space Force Deltas are based in Colorado. The ongoing success of these missions and installations in assessing and mitigating vulnerabilities in space further reaffirms Colorado as the best permanent home for the U.S. Space Command. At a time when the threats in this domain are growing by the day, our nation can ill-afford the delay, expense, and attrition associated with relocating Space Command.
"We look forward to working together on these and other priorities in your capacity as Chair of the National Space Council and invite you to visit Colorado to see how our state leads the country in space security, innovation, and education."