Why Wright-Patt could be even stronger after this week’s election


Tuesday’s election may leave Ohio’s largest single-site employer in a stronger place, some observers say.

Ohio Gov.-elect Mike DeWine has proposed creating a cabinet-level position to protect Ohio military installations, including Wright-Patterson Air Force Base — an idea observers familiar with the Dayton region embraced Thursday.

In the Dayton area, such a post would necessarily work to protect Wright-Patterson, which has about 27,000 civilian and military workers.

RELATED: National strategy raises profile of Wright-Patt and its commands

And with an approaching Democratic majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, the president and chief executive of the Dayton Development Coalition, Jeff Hoagland, said he believes the base will continue to see bipartisan support.

The base received bipartisan support for funding approved this year for a $182 million expansion of the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) at Wright-Patt.

Democrats and Republicans — including Sen. Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman, a Democrat and a Republican respectively, and U.S. Rep. U.S. Mike Turner, R-Dayton — worked together on that funding.

“We still have a lot of friends on the House side,” Hoagland said.

Meanwhile, a new state-level cabinet post dedicated to the protection of Ohio military missions would dovetail nicely with the coalition’s own core mission in protecting Wright-Patterson.

MORE: Company building businesses from Air Force ideas

“As you know, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is a very complex place,” DeWine said Wednesday.

Loren Thompson, a defense analyst with the Arlington, Va.-based Lexington Institute, said creating such a position would signal that Ohio leaders care about the state’s military missions.

Compared to other bases in other states, Wright-Patterson is fairly well protected thanks to the size and diversity of its missions, Thompson said. Headquartered at Wright-Patterson are crucial commands and labs dedicated to Air Force logistics, supply and research.

“In terms of its future security, I would bet on Wright-Patt above any other Air Force installation,” Thompson said.

He added: “Anybody in the Air Force will tell you that. I can remember people telling me that 10, 20 years ago.”

But signaling to the Air Force that Wright-Patterson is valued would still be worthwhile, he added.

“I think the governor-elect is sending a signal that Ohio needs every job that is associated with the U.S. military, and that historically it (Ohio) has not gotten as much money as other states,” he said.

Compared to states such as Alabama and Virginia, Ohio doesn’t have the same concentration of military missions, he said.

“If you drive through Alabama, and you lose control of your car, if you veer off the road, there’s a 20 percent chance you’re going to hit a military installation,” Thompson quipped. “There are military installations everywhere you look in places like Alabama and Georgia.”

Hoagland likes the idea. “From a statewide perspective, we think it’s a great initiative,” he said of a new cabinet post.

Ohio should doing everything it can to protect its military installations, Thompson said.

In any national base closure or realignment process, other states would likely pursue Air National Guard installations in the Buckeye State, he said.

There are no guarantees, but there could be efforts to shift some responsibilities from Wright-Patterson, he warned. Even though the local base is well positioned, it and Ohio might be able to move jobs from other areas.

A Wright-Patterson spokeswoman said base officials do not comment on pending legislation.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

Health system, which owns Premier Health stake, close to mega-merger
Health system, which owns Premier Health stake, close to mega-merger

Catholic Health Initiatives, which owns a 22 percent stake in Dayton’s Premier Health, is changing its name and close to completing a merger with another large hospital system. CHI and Dignity Health’s merger will create a $28.4 billion health care system, which will be the nation’s largest nonprofit hospital company by revenue. The...
Vectren wants to charge you $35 monthly, regardless of gas usage
Vectren wants to charge you $35 monthly, regardless of gas usage

Vectren Energy Delivery of Ohio Inc. is proposing to charge natural gas customers more than $35 a month regardless of how much natural gas they use. In its application for a rate increase before the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), the natural gas provider outlines monthly rates and charges for service. The proposal includes a monthly charge...
Vandalia manufacturer to add 35 jobs, invest $33M
Vandalia manufacturer to add 35 jobs, invest $33M

Inteva Products, LLC will invest $33 million in its Vandalia facility and add 35 new jobs to its current workforce of nearly 200, with a lease signing set for tomorrow, city officials said. “Inteva looked at a number of locations in the state and in the country before ultimately deciding to keep its Vandalia operation in the same place it has...
Tipp City energy firm to renovate Webster Station space
Tipp City energy firm to renovate Webster Station space

Energy Optimizers USA will move from Tipp City to a newly renovated space at 620 E. First St., the company and the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce said. “Energy Optimizers, USA is a growing, stable company that has been an integral part of school district and municipal energy savings since 2009,” Energy Optimizers USA Vice President of...
Beware of shady door-to-door energy sales tactics
Beware of shady door-to-door energy sales tactics

It’s the time of year for door-to-door pitches to get you to switch your energy provider, but consumers need to be wary of shady sales tactics. Norm Krebs of Dayton said he was pressured into an energy contract with a new supplier. Instead of saving money, as he was promised — his bill skyrocketed.  He listened to a pitch from a salesperson...
More Stories