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AFIT vote expected today
Posted: 09/20/2005 by AFIT Public Affairs

ARLINGTON, Va. | The independent base realignment and closure commission began voting Wednesday, deciding among other issues three noncontroversial proposals affecting the Dayton-Springfield area.

Today's actions are expected to include votes on two moves considered by Dayton civic leaders to be the most economically threatening to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

The nine-member independent commission today will consider proposals affecting the Air Force Institute of Technology — whether to privatize it, move it to California or keep it here — and will vote on whether to move Wright-Pat's Development and Fielding Systems Group to Hanscom Air Force Base in Massachusetts.

AFIT, which is based at Wright-Pat and serves as the Air Force's postgraduate school, employs about 500 and has about 1,000 students.

The Wright-Pat to Hanscom proposal, which affects a program that buys and supports automated business systems, would cost the region 2,250 jobs, according to Pentagon estimates, but area civic leaders believe the number could be more than 6,000.

The commission voted:

• To support a Defense Department recommendation to close the Army Reserve Center in Springfield and move it to the Air National Guard base at the Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport. The Defense Department did not predict the move would cost or add any jobs.

• To overturn a Defense recommendation to reduce the size of the Lima tank plant by 25 percent.

• To transfer from Wright-Patterson to the Defense Logistics Agency at Fort Belvoir, Va., the oversight of various support functions — budgeting, contracting, stock control, etc. — for depot level reparables. The Defense Department did not estimate any job loss for Wright-Patterson as a result of this transfer.

• To move Wright-Patterson's Air Force Materiel Command V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft activities in rotary wing air platform development and acquisition to Patuxent River, Md.

This move would cost the region 108 jobs through 2011, according to the Department of Defense. It was one of the few outgoing moves supported by the Dayton Development Coalition.

Jim Leftwich, the coalition's vice president for aerospace, defense and technology, said the coalition agreed with the Pentagon's plan to create a rotary-wing acquisition center of excellence at the Navy's Patuxent River station in Maryland. The tank plant in Lima, now called the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center, meanwhile, escaped a Defense Department recommendation to eliminate some of its physical space when the commission voted to overturn that recommendation.

Tim Johnson, a spokesman for Rep. Michael Oxley, R-Findlay, said the defense plan did not cut jobs and would have allowed the plant to continue its work on armored combat vehicles, but it would have consolidated space by more than 25 percent.

He said the community argued the recommendation was based on Defense Department data collected before a recent expansion in plant work, and said the plant is operating at 95 percent of capacity. The community argued the space consolidation would have saved the Pentagon only $200,000.

By Jessica Wehrman, Timothy R. Gaffney

Dayton Daily News

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