Defense bill would block transfer of Wright-Patt jobs, senator says

A manufacturing technology office with 55 jobs could not be transferred from the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson to the Pentagon under a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act expected to pass the Senate today.

The initiative with oversight for the entire military identifies manufacturing needs critical to national defense and gives grants to support manufacturing production so the capability remains viable in the United States, officials have said.

RELATED: Brown urges Pentagon not to move key Wright-Patt program

The Pentagon had planned to move the office, which had been at Wright-Patterson since 1987, on Oct. 1 last year, archives show.

“Keeping it at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base increases the Base’s importance as a center for commercializing defense-related technology and strengthens the science, technology, and acquisition missions of the Base,” Michael Gessel, Dayton Development Coalition vice president of federal programs.

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U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, sponsored a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act to keep the jobs at Wright-Patt.

Brown and three of his congressional colleagues had sent a letter last August to Secretary of Defense James Mattis warning the move could lead to “disorganized and haphazard development” of future programs and put at risk dozens of active projects.

Charlie Ward, chief of the AFRL manufacturing and technologies division, said in a statement there were no plans to move the manufacturing and industrial technologies division to Washington.


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