WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) issued the following statement on President Obama’s funding proposal for Springfield Ohio Air National Guard Base (ANGB) in Fiscal Year 2012.

“The President’s budget proposal marks a commitment to Springfield Ohio Air National Guard Base (ANGB) and the entire Springfield Community,” Brown said. “The future of Springfield ANGB faced a crossroads last year, and I led a bipartisan effort to bring new missions – like the Predator program – to the base. The Predator mission will maintain positions for more than 800 Ohioans and preserve southwest Ohio’s position as a stronghold for our nation’s security viability.”

The proposal allocates $6.7 million for FY2012 to maintain a ground control station for the MQ-1 Predator and an extension of the intelligence analysis mission from the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC). Predator is an unmanned aircraft that can fly anywhere around the world while being flown remotely from Springfield.

In May 2010, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) announced that the Springfield ANGB was assigned a unit of MQ-1 aircraft, retaining 866 positions. The base will also retain jobs through an expansion of the NASIC, headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

In 2005, the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC) ordered the relocation of the base’s aircraft, eliminating a permanent mission for the base. The 178th Fighter Wing at Springfield was one of only three F-16 training units.  The base graduated its final class of American pilots in December of last year. The Ohio delegation fought to create temporary missions to allow the base to remain in operation. Through these efforts, Springfield ANGB was charged with training foreign military units. The Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16 pilot training is currently centered on the base until it relocates in Sep. 2010.   

Since Brown took office in 2007, he has been working to keep the base open. Beginning in July 2009, Brown met with the White House on three separate occasions to discuss securing a new mission for the Springfield ANGB. He also met with Department of Defense Deputy Secretary William J. Lynn on three separate occasions: in July 2009, Nov. 2009, and March 2010, when he was joined by Governor Strickland.

On December 11, 2009, Brown led a letter signed by the Ohio delegation to Congressional Appropriations panel leaders urging funds to be appropriated to keep the Dutch training mission at Springfield. On January 20 and April 15, 2010 Brown and Strickland sent joint letters to Department of Defense Deputy Secretary William J. Lynn urging him to work to preserve Springfield ANGB. On April 16, 2010 Brown joined members of the Ohio delegation in a letter to General Norton A. Schwartz, Air Force Chief of Staff.