Durbin Files Public Comment in Support of Scott Bid to House New NGA Facility
Proposed Scott Air Force Base Site Would Bring 3,150 Jobs to St. Clair County Region
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – In comments filed today with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) once again expressed his strong support for Scott Air Force Base’s bid to house the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), known as NGA West, as part of the Army Corps’ public comment period. The agency is expected to make a final decision by spring 2016 after examining the finalist sites’ costs, relative merits and environmental qualities.
“I write to express my strong support for St. Clair County as the new home for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s (NGA) West Facilities Modernization, also known as NGA West,” Durbin wrote. “Locating it in close proximity to Scott Air Force Base best supports NGA’s mission and organizational efficiency while also providing tremendous certainty and value to the taxpayer.”
Scott is the only finalist owned by a public entity – St. Clair County. Last week, Durbin joined St. Clair County Chairman Mark Kern at Scott Air Force Base to announce that the County is prepared to offer an additional 200 acres to the NGA for future expansion.
Durbin, who is the ranking member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, has also met with NGA Director Robert Cardillo and spoken with Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper to discuss the benefits of Illinois’ proposal to house the program. Durbin has also toured the proposed site with Chairman Kern to learn more about what Illinois is offering the NGA.
The NGA is an 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.
The full text of today’s letter is available below.
November 23, 2015
Ms. Amy Blair
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Kansas City District
601 East 12th Street
Kansas City, MO 64016
Dear Ms. Blair:
I write to express my strong support for St. Clair County as the new home for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s (NGA) West Facilities Modernization, also known as NGA West. Locating it in close proximity to Scott Air Force Base best supports NGA’s mission and organizational efficiency while also providing tremendous certainty and value to the taxpayer.
St. Clair County is the strongest location for NGA West and twice has been named by the Air Force as the most supportive military community in the country. Its close proximity to Scott Air Force Base significantly, and uniquely, enhances NGA’s mission by aligning it with partners like Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), U.S. Transportation Command, and major Air Force headquarters. All employees – many of whom live in southern Illinois – would enjoy smooth access to the base through high-quality public transportation and a new exit off the I-64 interchange, as well as a de facto one percent pay raise; active, reserve, and retired military personnel could also enjoy discount shopping at the base’s commissary.
In addition, Illinois also offers NGA a spacious, low-risk parcel of land, which will increase the likelihood that the project is constructed on-time and on-budget. Last week, Chairman Kern announced that St. Clair County could double the available land to 400 acres. As the Corps continues to refine its draft assessment of this area, I urge you to give full consideration to St. Clair County’s assessment submitted last week, which puts the draft environmental impact statement’s comments on archeological, airspace, and wetlands issues in their proper context alongside upcoming mitigation efforts. None of these issues will hold NGA back from realizing a strong, low-risk partnership with southern Illinois.
I appreciate your full consideration of these issues and I look forward to St. Clair County as the new location for NGA West.
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