“There is an expectation that the Biden administration top-line (defense spending) number will be declining,” the Dayton Republican said. “Even though that’s declining, I would project that Wright-Patterson Air Force Base should be able to hold the employment status that it currently does, with maybe small growth in areas that we have already achieved in the Trump administration.”
Defense spending in fiscal year 2020 reached $738 billion. Some government observers have predicted declining military budgets in coming years due primarily to COVID-19 and exploding federal deficits.
Two areas of growth that Turner expects to stay on track: The building of the National Space Intelligence Center which will serve Space Force and the move of an F-35 fighter jet sustainment program to WPAFB from Virginia.
But Turner has concerns — protecting the Space Intelligence Center and the key missions already anchored on the base, along with holding off feared cuts in defense spending and modernization.
“If we hold what we have and continue to grow, we’re going to see a great future,” he said.
He believes Space Force is secure. And he expects the new administration will review the force and placement of key missions tied to that force.
Earlier this month, Alabama leaders announced that the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala. is the Department of the Air Force’s preferred location for the headquarters of Space Command, which is different from Space Force but allied in certain key missions related to the space arena. Space Force is part of the Department of the Air Force, analogous to the relationship between the Marine Corps and the Navy.
Asked if the Redstone decision is a certainty, Turner said: “For all the locations that have been designated for Space Force, there will be a review by the Biden administration. And that’s why, certainly, our portion of Space Force, we’re going to have to advocate to (protect).”