Congressman Mike Turner, R-Dayton. CBS photo

Defense secretary: No need to duplicate NASIC through Space Force

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper agreed Wednesday it’s important not to duplicate the work being performed by the the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base as the fledgling Space Force is created.

“As we look forward to how we organize Space Force, obviously, we’re not looking for reduplication, and I don’t want to break something that’s working,” Esper told the House Armed Services Committee.

He added to U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, a member of that committee: “So you and I have talked about this before. I’ll take it back and make sure that works in all of our calculations, make sure we consult with you as things evolve. But they (NASIC personnel) do great work there.”

Esper also told Turner: “I just want to say thank you for hosting me at Wright-Patt, and I did have a great visit to NASIC — they do exceptional work.”

Turner hosted Esper on a visit to Wright-Patterson, the state’s largest single-site employer, in October 2019.

Esper was responding to a point Turner made Wednesday about NASIC’s future, asking the secretary to ensure the organization is protected as the Space Force is organized. 

Dayton leaders have sought to protect NASIC, which is based at Wright-Patterson and whose employment has risen steadily over the years.

The defense budget President Trump signed in December approves $182 million for a new home for NASIC. The NASIC expansion has been called the largest single construction project in base history.

Construction on that project is expected to start this year, leaders of the Dayton Development Coalition have said.

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