If the National Defense Authorization Act is signed into law by President Donald Trump, it will launch a new construction project at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
The $182-million project will expand the National Air and Space Intelligence Center at Wright-Patt. 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.
Here’s what we know about the possible project so far.
NASIC will receive an appropriation of $61 million so construction can begin in fiscal year 2019 which started July 1, according to Sen. Sherrod Brown-D, and Sen. Rob Portman-R.
The Department of Defense will administer the funding for the project, said U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton.
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.
The expansion will be the largest single project in the last 50 years at the base and one of the biggest ones in its history, said Jeff Hoagland, president of the Dayton Development Coalition.
If the NDAA is signed into law, the base would receive more construction funding than ever before, according to Brown’s office. The project is one that Turner said other Air Force bases would be envious of.
“This is obviously an exciting one for Wright-Patt,” Turner said. “This is the level of a type of construction that many bases would be envious to see so its quite a celebration for our community.”
As national decision makers and others have demanded more intelligence, NASIC’s workforce has increased by about 1,500 employees at Wright-Patt, or 100 a year between 2000 to 2015, according to the agency.
The building would bring employees in six different locations into one facility. An expansion would add 900 seats to house intelligence analysts and engineers and add labs.
NASIC has pressed the need for the new space to relieve overcrowding, agency spokeswoman Michelle Martz has said. The size of the new building will “certainly put a dent in that problem,” she said.
The investment means Wright-Patt is unlikely to be targeted for closure any time soon, said Turner, a Republican congressman from Dayton.
“This new expansion will put NASIC on the forefront and will certainly ensure that their mission will remain at Wright-Patt Air Force Base and continue to grow,” Turner said.
NASIC is “always under pressure” from other intelligence agencies that want to do the organization’s job, Turner said, and part of his job is “thwarting” those other agencies.
The short answer is yes.
The bill provides more than $1 billion toward research and development programs for the Air Force Research Lab at Wright-Patt.
Last summer, the U.S. Department of Defense announced plans to shift certain Defense Production Act jobs from Wright-Patt to the Pentagon. But, if it becomes law the NDAA would prohibit the Department of Defense from moving those jobs without congressional approval, according to Brown’s office.
The NDAA will also include $335.8 million to address issues of toxic chemicals from getting into local water supply at Air Force bases.
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