Durbin, Kirk Join In Support Of Scott AFB To House Critical New Defense Facility

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] –U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, and U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) joined together today in sending the Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) a letter in support of housing a new NGA facility at Scott Air Force Base.

“Scott Air Force Base is a cost-effective location for the facility, and situated in an incredibly strong and supportive local community in downstate Illinois,” the Senators wrote.

The Department of Defense named Scott Air Force Base as a finalist to house a new facility for the NGA in July. The current NGA facility – which includes multiple buildings located in downtown St. Louis, Missouri – is more than 100 years old. The aging buildings at the NGA’s current location require high maintenance costs, and do not meet either force protection standards or seismic safety standards. The NGA will continue its current operations at a facility in Arnold, Missouri.

Funding for environmental analysis of all six candidate sites for the new facility announced today was included in both the Fiscal Year 2014 and Fiscal Year 2015 Defense Appropriations bills, and in the Fiscal Year 2015 Omnibus Appropriations Bill approved by Congress last week. As the Chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Durbin oversees funding for the military and intelligence community, the nation’s national security requirements and the daily needs of over two million active duty and reserve service members. All told, the Subcommittee controls more than half of the nation’s annual discretionary budget.

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James joined Durbin, Kirk, and other elected officials at a visit to Scott Air Force Base in April of this year. They toured Scott’s Air Operations Center and the 126th Air Refueling Wing and met with civic and business leaders from nearby communities to discuss the strong local and regional support for the base. Also at Durbin’s invitation, in March, Air Force Chief of Staff Mark Welsh visited Scott Air Force Base for a similar tour and series of meetings with officials. 

The full text of today’s letter is available below.

December 19, 2014

Mr. Robert Cardillo


National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

7500 GEOINT Drive

Springfield, VA 22150

Dear Director Cardillo:

            We write to express our support for Scott Air Force Base as a finalist for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s West Facilities Modernization, also known as NGA West. 

Scott Air Force Base is a cost-effective location for the facility, and situated in an incredibly strong and supportive local community in downstate Illinois. Use of this land would place NGA West closer to many of its Air Force and U.S. Transportation Command partners. It would also permit NGA to take advantage of security savings by sharing the base’s existing security features, while the region’s workers enjoy rapid access from the new nearby Interstate 64 interchange. 

            We appreciate your full consideration of Scott Air Force Base as the new location for NGA West.