WPAFB celebrates huge new NASIC complex, starts work on child development center

The new $156 million NASIC complex is the largest single-site construction project in Wright-Patterson Air Force Base history

Monday was a day to celebrate growth at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

The National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) officially cut the ribbon on its new Intelligence Production Center III at Wright-Patterson on Monday, celebrating and formally opening the home to a key national intelligence operation. Employees are expected to move in this summer.

Also Monday, the 88th Air Base Wing at Wright-Patterson was to break ground for a new child development center on the base’s Area A, answering a long-felt need for a base that is home to some 35,000 military and civilian employees, many of them parents.

The 41,000-square-foot child development center will increase the base’s child care capacity by more than 30%, creating the space needed to care for an additional 200 children, the base said.

‘You should be very proud’

Dubbed “IPC III,” the NASIC intelligence complex is a $156 million, 255,000 square-foot structure. The five-story building adds 980 workstations, mission-specific functions, meeting areas, 3-D visualization capabilities, conference rooms and features such as mothers’ rooms, natural light, and showers, NASIC said.

The work performed here will “determine victory or defeat in the future battle space,” said Col. Ariel Batungbacal, the NASIC commander who earlier this month was confirmed for promotion to brigadier general.

Nationally well-known intelligence-gathering agencies, such as the CIA, the National Security Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency, could not do their work without the help of NASIC and the National Space Intelligence Center (NSIC), which is also located here, said U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

“NASIC and NSIC continue to expand at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and we’re going to have to continue to invest in facilities here for those who are doing intelligence,” Turner said. “The men and the women who are here are doing unbeliveable work.”

The NASIC complex was the largest single-facility construction project in Wright-Patt’s history, Matt Schnelle, Messer Construction vice president and Dayton region leader, told the Dayton Daily News recently.

Air Force leaders confirmed that Monday, lauding a complex construction project that required more than 700,000 “effort-hours” and 74,000 equipment hours without a single lost-time incident.

Ground for the NASIC project was broken late in 2020. The project was finished on time and on budget, Schnelle said Monday.

“You should be very proud of this incredible accomplishment,” said Lt. Gen. Leah Lauderback, the deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance at Air Force headquarters at the Pentagon.

Lauderback grew up in the Dayton area, and her father worked at what was the Foreign Technology Division at Wright-Patterson, a NASIC precursor.

Today, NASIC is an intelligence center and an operational wing in the Air Force intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance enterprise.

The center’s mission is to uncover and characterize air, space, missile, and cyber threats to national security.

Jeff Hoagland, president and chief executive of the Dayton Development Coalition, credited Turner and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, with shepherding the NASIC construction, securing crucial federal funds for a project that was at least a decade in the making.

Child care center

The child development building will have features such as a “daylight harvesting system,” which the base said will adjust artificial light based on the available sunlight coming through the windows

The need for the center has been felt for some time. The project in 2021 ranked No. 6 out of 30 unfunded Air Force projects, according to Michael Gessel, vice president of federal government programs for the Dayton Development Coalition.

That’s “fairly high up,” Gessel told the Dayton Daily News at the time.

In 2022, $29 million was secured in the fiscal year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act for a child care facility at Wright-Patt.

That amount was in addition to $24 million for another center approved in a previous fiscal year’s Defense Authorization Act.

In all, in the past several years, $53 million has been secured for a pair of child development centers at Wright-Patterson.

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