Defense bill includes provision to keep research jobs at Wright-Patt

Dayton Business Journal

A provision to keep research jobs at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base has been included in the new Defense Authorization Bill.

The bill, which passed the Senate in a vote Monday night, would block the U.S. Department of Defense from moving forward with plans to transfer a key program away from the Air Force Research Laboratory, which is headquartered at Wright-Patt.

The provision, secured by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), would keep local jobs, investments and active projects at the base.

Last summer, the Department of Defense announced plans to transfer management and program responsibilities of a defense manufacturing program that allows the federal government to support defense-related manufacturing when domestic capabilities aren't able to meet national security needs.

The program, authorized under the Defense Production Act, would have been transferred from AFRL to the Pentagon. Brown’s provision will prevent DoD from moving the initiative away from Wright-Patt without Congressional approval. The DPA is overseen by the Senate Banking Committee, on which Brown is a ranking member.

The DPA helps ensure there is enough defense manufacturing capacity to meet the needs of the DoD. The office that manages the initiative is currently housed at the AFRL, and will remain there under Brown’s provision. Brown wrote to DoD arguing against the move last year.

“The Wright-Patterson Air Force Research Lab helps create jobs and support our defense capabilities by carrying out this important manufacturing initiative," Brown said. "The workers at the lab have the deep institutional knowledge and experience we need to continue making these defense manufacturing investments, and to oversee the program to ensure current projects are successful and cost-effective."

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