National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) airmen stand at parade rest during change-of-command ceremony in 2018 at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. FILE

$182M NASIC project on track, Turner says on visit to base

Turner visits NASIC w/ Armed Services Committee colleague

The $182 million expansion of the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) remains on track, U.S. Rep. Mike Turner said Wednesday after touring Wright-Patterson Air Force Base with a House Armed Services Committee colleague.

The intelligence agency analyzes adversaries air, space, and cyber threats, such as ballistic missile capabilities, and provides that intelligence to political and military leaders.

The capabilities are ever more crucial as the Pentagon stands up a new military branch, Space Force. And the expansion is the largest single project in the last 50 years at Wright-Patterson and one of the biggest ones in its history, advocates for Dayton have said.

RELATED: Defense secretary: No need to duplicate NASIC in Space Force

“We just received a report today that the NASIC project is on time,” Turner said in a press conference outside the Hope Hotel and Conference Center on the base. “We even drove past the area where they’re clearing dirt.”

“When you look at what NASIC is doing, and what our adversaries are doing, it makes it even that much more important their capabilities be increased — and also with respect to space intelligence and our contribution there, it’s certainly is incredibly important that the building be completed on time.”

Turner visited the base with U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs, Colo., a district that’s home to key U.S. Space Command missions and units, including the command headquarters.

U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and U.S. Rep. MIke Turner spoke at a press conference at the Hope Hotel in an undated Air Force photo.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class James Jacobs)
Photo: Airman 1st Class James Jacobs

Both Turner and Lamborn are on the Armed Service’s Committee’s Tactical Air and Land Forces subcommittee.

The men are friends, but on one issue, they stand apart — Turner has asked Dayton advocates to make the case to Department of Defense decision-makers that Dayton and Wright-Patterson should be considered for Space Command headquarters.

Lamborn, as Colorado Springs’ representative, is happy that his district retains Space Command’s provisional headquarters as the Pentagon considers a new home for the command.

“I think each representative is going to want to make a strong case for where they represent,” Lamborn said. “That’s where their first loyalty lies.”

Lamborn said he believes the Air Force is relying on a “good system of metrics” to decide where the command should be placed.

“I think we’ll be satisfied that the national security is met first and foremost,” Lamborn said. “They will have done a very rigorous process.”

He added: “I’m hoping that is Colorado Springs. But that’s still up in the air and apparently will be decided sometime after the first of the year.”

On the issue of police reform, Turner said he backed a new executive order from President Trump prioritizing federal funding for police departments that focus on defusing tense situations, including banning choke-holds in situations when an officer’s life is not in danger.

“Banning of the use of choke-holds is incredibly in line with what Americans’ shock and sadness has been” after the May 25 death of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police, Turner said.

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