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$29M expansion to help intelligence gathering

By DREW SIMON | Dayton Daily News, Ohio | Published: June 20, 2015

DAYTON, Ohio (Tribune News Service) — A $29.5 million expansion to the National Air and Space Intelligence Center is expected to allow the agency to take on missions that will help in the technological battle against ever-growing foreign threats.

“Over the course of a number of years, the demand for intelligence continues to grow,” said Col. Leah Lauderback, commander of NASIC. “Our adversaries are essentially closing in the technological gap that the United States has likened for a long time now.”

NASIC has an annual budget of more than $350 million, and more than 3,100 workers provide services for the facility.

The 58,000 square foot expansion will nearly triple the size of the existing center and double the size of available laboratory space, base officials said.

“This facility not only give us more space, be able to work on some projects we already have in waiting, but it will also allow us to try out some new technologies and new capabilities,” Lauderback said.

The shrinking technological gap the United States has with groups like ISIS and countries like China and Russia make the work of NASIC more relevant for the future, officials said.

Analysts and technicians at the center reverse-engineer an adversary’s air, space and cyber-related technology to determine how it works and its weakness.

“Wright-Patterson Air Force Base has risen to the increased need for intelligence services and information,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Turner (R, Ohio). “This investment right here recognizes we have the workforce and the knowledge to know how to do it.”

No immediate new jobs are expected to be created with the expansion, but leaders expect additional projects will be assigned to the center and could lead to more jobs for the region in the future.

Dayton Development Coalition President/CEO Jeff Hoagland said the investment by the federal government is proof that “Dayton is back.”

“This could have been built anywhere, and we’re fortunate that we have a congressional delegation … who truly care and understand what’s happening at Wright-Patt,” Hoagland told the newspaper at the facility’s groundbreaking ceremony Friday morning.

Hoagland said the expansion really will be felt after it opens in 24 to 30 months, but the ripple effect could greatly help the still-recovering local economy.

“We’re going to bring more companies. There’s going to be more people. Our academic community is going to benefit from it,” Hoagland said.

©2015 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio)
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