by Congressman Mike Turner
Recently, I was named the Ranking Member on the Strategic Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee. This distinct honor allows me to be a key advocate for the many military and defense related resources in our community. I look forward to using my service on this subcommittee to further the crucial role Wright- Patterson Air Force Base plays in defending our nation.
The Strategic Forces Subcommittee has jurisdiction over the nation’s nuclear arsenal, our military assets in outer space, the Department of Defense’s intelligence programs, and also over missile defense systems. Wright-Patterson Air Force Base plays a key role in developing and implementing many aspects of these important programs.
For example, the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC), headquartered at Wright-Patterson, is the primary source of intelligence on foreign aerospace forces and weapons systems to the Department of Defense.
The work done at NASIC has a wide range of applications and deals with many aspects of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee’s responsibilities. For instance, in early 2007 NASIC assisted in shooting down a potentially harmful rogue satellite that was about to re-enter the atmosphere. The agency tracked the object as it moved through space relaying information that ultimately led to its successful destruction by a precision ballistic missile strike. As Ranking Member, I recognize the extraordinary capabilities of agencies such as NASIC and will work to further enhance the military’s space and intelligence efforts.
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is also home to the Air Force Institute of Technology and Air Force Research Laboratory. Together, these critical agencies place both Wright-Patterson and Southwest Ohio as a whole on the forefront of efforts to ensure that the United States military remains the most technologically advanced and best equipped fighting force in the world. Actions undertaken by the Strategic Forces Subcommittee will have a direct impact on these important programs, and I am pleased that I will have a strong voice for our community on the panel.
As the largest single site employer in the State of Ohio, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base also plays a major role in driving our regional economy. It is responsible for twenty thousand jobs inside the gates and twenty thousand jobs outside the gate, as well as countless dollars in economic development throughout the community. During the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process, many of these jobs and the very future of the base were threatened. Through a collaborative effort with local leaders, an additional 1,000 jobs were brought to the base. By the time BRAC is completed $413 million in federal funding is expected, the largest amount invested at Wright-Patterson since World War II. The continued success of Wright-Patterson and NASIC is truly vital to both the United States military and to Southwest Ohio.
In addition to working more closely on important policies affecting Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, my new position will also give me an opportunity to work on a wide spectrum of national defense issues. The Strategic Forces Subcommittee is tasked with enhancing our nation’s security by ensuring that warfighters in the field are equipped with the most accurate and comprehensive intelligence available, modernizing America’s nuclear infrastructure, and working to build and deploy an effective missile defense system. Such programs are critical to strengthening our national security, as well as protecting and caring for our brave military personnel both on the battlefield and at home.
I am tremendously proud to be a member of the House Armed Services Committee and to serve as the Ranking Member of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee. The responsibilities of this subcommittee are critical to the continued stability of our nation and our community. I am committed to working with my colleagues on the committee and leaders in our community to ensure the continued success of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and strong support for our men and women in the United States military.