National strategy raises profile of Wright-Patt and its commands


The new national defense strategy unveiled this year emphasizes competition with powers such as China and Russia — a stance that arguably raises the profile of crucial large commands based at Wright Patterson Air Force Base.

Simply dealing with the attrition of skilled employees at the Life Cycle Management Center, which is based at Wright-Patterson, requires some 1,200 employees a year, said Lt. Gen. Robert McMurry Jr., who commands LCMC and is acting commander of the Air Force Materiel Command, the heart of Air Force logistics.

“Twelve-hundred is actually the Wright-Patterson throughput per year,” McMurry said. “Just to stay even, I’m bringing in 1,200 people per year.”

MOREDayton employers intend to hire in year’s final quarter 

But the new strategy may mean a “modest” long-term increase of employment beyond that, probably of 800 to 1,000 people, for all of the LCMC, not just the base.

“We have a pretty robust need at Wright-Patterson for just a normal replenishment of manpower, of personnel,” the three-star general said. “Across the center, we are expecting a very modest increase in the total number of people who are working our programs.”

MOREHurricane Florence draws restoration crews from DP&L, Duke Energy

McMurry spoke in an interview at Life Cycle Industry Days, a three-day conference that began Wednesday at Daniel J. Curran Place at the University of Dayton.

The event has brought to Dayton some 800 military and civilian professionals who work not only at building and acquiring tomorrow’s weapons today but maintaining current and older aircraft and weapons systems.

A publicly released summary of the new defense strategy, released in January, identified the shift in focus from terrorism, saying: “Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in U.S. national security.”

MORESee which Dayton employers are looking for the right workers right now 

The focus, said the document, “is the reemergence of long-term strategic competition,” mainly from China and Russia.

That direction means a focus on “lethality and readiness” of people and weapons, strengthening international partnerships and securing better business practices.

All of those affect and involve crucial commands at Wright-Patterson and elsewhere.

“Probably what you’ll see is an increase in just the base workforce as we move up to get closer to what the model says we ought to have,” McMurry said. “I would say right now I’m expecting across the (command), I would say on the order of 800 to 1,000 people — but that’s not all at Wright-Patt.”

He added the Air Force is working to get full budget appropriation for all of its authorized positions or job openings, which would mean a five percent employment increase from “where we have been historically.”

“If you look at Wright-Patterson, about a five percent increase — if we get the appropriation to the full request that we have for (fiscal year) 2020,” he said.

So far this year, the LCMC has seen a net gain of 500 jobs.

The Air Force Research Laboratory, also based at Wright-Patterson, is nearing the completion of a labor and skills assessment to identify technology areas where more people are needed — areas like artificial intelligence, hypersonics or quantum technology. Jack Blackhurst, the civilian executive director of AFRL, expects that assessment around the end of October.

Asked if that assessment could mean bringing more people to Wright-Patterson, Blackhurst said it’s possible, but he will not know until the assessment is completed.

“We may need to grow some people who are coming in, younger people and so forth,” he said. “People who are senior today, who will retire in the next five years, we need to be replacing those.”



Reader Comments


Next Up in Business

Construction finished for 50 new senior apartments in Dayton
Construction finished for 50 new senior apartments in Dayton

Apartments for seniors are quickly being leased at a newly built complex along lower Salem Avenue. Construction just finished on Audubon Crossing, but only 15 of the 50 units were still available as of Friday afternoon. The affordable housing community cost about $9.6 million to develop, according to the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, which awarded tax...
BLS: Dayton manufacturing grew 4 percent in past year
BLS: Dayton manufacturing grew 4 percent in past year

The latest federal numbers show that manufacturing employment grew four percent in the past year in the Dayton U.S. Census area. According to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data, manufacturing employment, the Dayton area — defined by the federal government as Montgomery, Greene and Miami counties — grew by 1,700 jobs from October...
CareSource gets latest report card from state
CareSource gets latest report card from state

CareSource’s performance rating slipped in some categories on its latest report card from Ohio Medicaid, though retained high marks for its efforts to keep children healthy. The nonprofit insurer, headquartered in downtown Dayton, overall received 14 out of 25 stars, ranking 3rd out of the five insurers that privately manage Medicaid plans in...
Montgomery County home sales hit all-time high
Montgomery County home sales hit all-time high

Montgomery County has already recorded more real estate sales during 2018 than any year on record, the county auditor told more than 70 local government officials Thursday morning at an annual update. Valid residential home sales in 2018 just through November soared to 8,462, shooting 19 percent higher than 2016’s total 7,125 and above the previous...
Dayton VR company makes Austin Landing home
Dayton VR company makes Austin Landing home

A locally based creator of 3D virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality software is calling Austin Landing home. Fueled by partnerships with retailer Macy’s and other customers, Marxent moved from the Miami Valley Research Park in Kettering to Austin Landing just before Thanksgiving. RELATED: How much is Austin Landing worth? Owners trying...
More Stories