In a show of bipartisanship, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton visited Beavercreek together Tuesday to tout their work to get funding for one of the biggest projects in the history of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
National Defense Authorization Act, which president Donald Trump is expected to sign next week, will fund a $182-million expansion of the National Air and Space Intelligence Center at Wright-Patt. NASIC will receive an appropriation of $61 million so construction can begin in fiscal year 2019.The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to award the full contract by spring 2020, according to the agency. The construction period would likely be two and a half years.
Both Brown and Turner served on the House-Senate Conference Committee that wrote the final defense bill.
The expansion will likely mean more jobs at NASIC, Turner said, but he didn’t know how many the agency might add. As national decision makers and others have demanded more intelligence, NASIC’s workforce has increased by about 1,500 employees, or 100 a year between 2000 to 2015, according to the agency.
The intelligence agency analyzes adversaries air, space, and cyber threats, such as ballistic missile capabilities, and provides findings to the nation’s political and military leaders.
Turner referred to his and Brown’s visit to the Pentagon Club today as a “victory lap” for the bill they worked on. Turner joked that he and Brown are teammates and “play catch” together with legislation to support Wright-Patt.
“The bottom line to this celebration is not only are we a team as a community, we’re also a team on the federal level,” Turner said.
Jeff Hoagland, CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition, thanked Brown and Turner for their work on the NDAA as the lawmakers celebrated their victory at the Pentagon Tower Club in Beavercreek today. To see this type of project happen in a “bipartisan way” is a big deal, Hoagland said.
Brown said the NDAA showed how he, Turner, Dayton and the military community could work together in a way he doesn’t see often. Along with funding for NASIC’s expansion, the defense bill also authorizes more than $1 billion worth of research and development programs for Air Force Research Lab at Wright-Patt.
“There is bipartisanship on a lot of issues but it doesn’t get the attention,” Brown said.
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