Durbin Discusses Strength of Illinois' Bid for National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
Proposed Scott Air Force Base Site Would Bring 3,150 Jobs to St. Clair County Region
[SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today discussed his support for Illinois’ bid to house the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) that would bring 3,150 jobs to the region. Scott Air Force Base is a finalist location for a new facility to replace NGA’s current downtown St. Louis location. Durbin, who is the ranking member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, met with NGA Director Robert Cardillo last week in Washington to discuss the benefits of Illinois’ proposal to house the program. Today, Durbin joined St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern to tour the proposed site and learn more about what Illinois is offering the NGA. Durbin also visited Scott Air Force Base to meet with officials from the 375th Air Mobility Wing and the Defense Information Systems Agency to receive updates on current and future projects.
“As one of our nation’s leading defense installations, Scott Air Force Base would be a natural choice to house the work of this critically important agency,” Durbin said. “The addition of the NGA would strengthen Scott Air Force Base’s already crucial role to our national security while bringing thousands of jobs to the region. NGA need look no further for a site that offers convenient access for employees in a secure environment. I’m optimistic that the strength of Illinois’ bid will be noted as these sites are compared and contrasted and that, in the end, NGA will come home to St. Clair County and Scott Air Force Base.”
Scott AFB is the only site of the four finalists that is owned by a public entity – St. Clair County. Its location right off a major highway would allow NGA to share the base’s infrastructure and security measures. The other three finalists are a former Chrysler site in Fenton, Missouri, a former Metropolitan Life building on Tesson Ferry Road in St. Louis, and a former housing project in North St. Louis.
The NGA is a combined defense and intelligence agency responsible for collecting, classifying and analyzing human activity around the world and providing map-based imagery data crucial to U.S. intelligence gathering. Its current St. Louis location is 100 years old and NGA has concluded that it would be too expensive to modernize the existing structure.
NGA and the Army Corps will finish an environmental analysis by September 2015, and Cardillo will make a final decision by March 2016 after examining the sites’ costs, relative merits and environmental qualities. Construction would start in 2017, funded out of the Military Construction-VA bill, and it would open in 2021.
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