WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today announced that he helped secure key investments for Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Brown helped secure these funds in the House-Senate NDAA conference report, which is expected to pass both chambers over the next week. In June, Brown fought to secure this language for Dayton in the Senate’s version of the NDAA. The funds still need to be appropriated, and Brown said he will continue fighting to secure these funds in the final Defense and Military Construction Appropriations bills. The programs and directorate run out of Wright-Patterson will receive funding once both the appropriations and authorization bills have passed.
The bill includes:
- An additional $117 million per year for the next five years to support critical Defense Production Act (DPA) projects nationwide, which would help support DPA jobs at Wright-Patt
- This comes after Brown successfully secured a provision in last year’s NDAA to prevent DPA jobs from leaving Ohio by ensuring that the AFRL would continue to manage this critical program.
- $1.359 billion to support critical research and development programs run out of Wright-Patt’s Air Force Research Lab (AFRL)
- $120.9 million to support military construction of Wright-Patt’s new National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC)
- $35.7 million to support improvements and rehabilitation efforts for Wright-Patt’s historic Brick Quarters Housing District
“This bill will make sure Wright-Patt’s highly-skilled workers can continue to do their jobs and help meet our national security needs,” Brown said.
DPA Increased Funding
The Manufacturing Technology Division of Wright-Patterson’s Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) helps run a key defense manufacturing program, which is housed at Wright-Patt, that allows the federal government to support defense-related manufacturing when domestic capabilities aren’t able to meet national security needs. The program was created under the Defense Production Act (DPA), and supports Ohio jobs and brings investments to the region through contracts awarded to the program. The DPA is overseen by the Senate Banking Committee, on which Brown sits as Ranking Member.
Anticipating a major increase in the need for leading edge industrial base technology projects in the next several years, identified by Pentagon planners, Brown led the effort with Sen. Crapo (R-ID), Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, to increase authorized funding under the DPA from $133 million annually to $250 million annually for the next four years. This authorization will provide an additional $117 million annually over the next five years and will help the DOD address risks to the manufacturing and defense industrial base. This funding will be used for projects across the country and will help support jobs at Wright-Patt.
Two years ago, the Department of Defense (DOD) announced plans to transfer management and program responsibilities for the DPA’s Title III program away from AFRL at Wright-Patt and house them at the Pentagon. The move could have put local jobs, investments, and active projects at risk. Following this news, Brown wrote to DOD immediately, urging it to keep DPA program managers housed at Wright-Patt.
Brown then secured language in the Senate’s NDAA bill last year that bars DOD from moving program management of DPA without Congressional approval and keeps the jobs in Ohio.
The bill would authorize more than $1.359 billion for research and development programs run out of the Air Force Research Lab’s (AFRL) Materials, Human Effectiveness, Propulsion, Aerospace Systems, Sensors and Manufacturing Directorates at Wright-Patt. This funding is critical to addressing emerging threats and strategic challenges that our men and women in uniform face.
NASIC Military Construction Funding
This bill would also authorize $120.9 million to support military construction efforts for Wright-Patt’s National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC).
Last year, Brown was able to help secure more funding for NASIC construction than ever before, when the NDAA authorized $182 million for phase one and two of NASIC’s expansion. The project received an appropriation authorization of $61 million for Fiscal Year 2019 to begin construction.
- In 2018, Brown wrote to then-DOD Secretary Jim Mattis calling for an investment at NASIC, along with other Ohio priorities. In 2017, Brown spoke to Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson about investing in construction needs at the base.
- Prior to that, in 2017, Brown – as co-chair of the Senate Air Force Caucus – brought his Republican caucus co-chair John Boozman (R-AR), Armed Services Committee Members Jack Reed (D-RI), Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) to visit Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and tour the facility. Together, Brown and Portman highlighted critical research and development work done at the base in support of the Air Force and national security.
- Brown also met with Sec. Mattis in 2017 to outline Ohio military priorities. During the meeting, Brown invited Mattis to visit Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the Air National Guard 178th Wing in Springfield.
Historic Brick Quarters Housing District at Wright-Patt
The bill also authorizes more than $35.7 million to support improvements efforts for 29 of Wright-Patt’s historic Brick Quarters Housing District units. This housing on the Wright-Patt campus is in need of rehabilitation to meet current safety standards and this funding will ensure the buildings are updated to best support those living in the historic homes on the base. The Brick Officer housing was built in 1930s and was designed in the Tudor Revival style.