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$30M building at Wright-Patt announced

Facility to focus on arms capabilities of foreign forces.

The government is setting aside nearly $30 million to strengthen a key intelligence operation at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Ohio lawmakers have announced $29.5 million for the building of a “Foreign Material Exploitation (FME)” facility for the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) headquartered on the base, which is the region’s and Ohio’s largest single-site employer.

Foreign material exploitation involves studying the arms or equipment capabilities of foreign armed forces. The idea is to determine if the technology is useful for the U.S. and how to defeat that technology.

“It is analyzing,” Michael Gessel, vice president, federal government programs for the Dayton Development Coalition, said of FME work. “It does reverse-engineering.”

U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, is chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces.

“Today’s announcement is a huge win for NASIC, Wright-Patt and Dayton as it reaffirms our community’s place as a national leader in foreign aerospace intelligence gathering and dissemination,” Turner said in a statement.

NASIC has about 3,000 military and civilian employees and a budget of some $350 million.

Turner said he authored legislative language for fiscal year 2014 that “demonstrated the urgent need for this new facility and encouraged the Air Force to move ahead with the project.”

“The work done by the men and women of NASIC is a key piece of the broader intelligence community and its success is vital to U.S. national security,” Turner said.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, whose office said he, too, pursued the project’s funding, welcomed the news.

“NASIC is a premier defense intelligence agency with a historic legacy in Ohio,” Brown, a Democrat, said in a statement. “This new investment will further strengthen NASIC’s capability to provide cutting-edge research on the next generation of foreign aerospace and weapon system capabilities. This new infusion of federal resources comes on top of the outstanding civilian and military personnel already working at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.”

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