US House committee leader wants probe of space command HQ decision

FILE PHOTO: House Armed Services Committee meets ahead of the 118th congress in Washington

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee said on Thursday he has requested a formal investigation of the decision to keep the headquarters of the U.S. military's Space Command in Colorado rather than move it to Alabama.

In a letter to Comptroller General Gene Dodaro, Representative Mike Rogers, a Republican from Alabama, asked for a Government Accountability Office investigation, citing "concerns raised that untoward political interference played a major role" in the decision by President Joe Biden.

The White House has denied that partisan motivations were behind the decision. The Pentagon pointed to its public statement from July 31 saying that the decision was made after consultation with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and the input of senior military leaders.

Locating the headquarters in Colorado Springs will "enable the command to most effectively plan, execute and integrate military spacepower into multi-domain global operations in order to deter aggression and defend national interests," the statement said.

The U.S. military announced on July 31 that Biden, a Democrat, had selected Colorado Springs as the permanent location of the U.S. Space Command headquarters, saying it would ensure "peak readiness" of the command during a critical period.

Biden's decision came as a Republican senator from Alabama, Tommy Tuberville, is blocking hundreds of U.S. military appointments to protest the Pentagon's policy reimbursing costs for service members who travel to get an abortion.

Space Command is responsible for American military operations in space.

Tuberville has said that Biden's decision "looks like blatant patronage politics."

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Mark Porter and Jonathan Oatis)