The Illinois Congressional delegation, led by Sen. Dick Durbin (D), Rep. Jerry Costello (D), and Rep. John Shimkus (R), last week sent Air Force Secretary Michael Donley a letter, urging him to locate the service’s new cyber central at Scott AFB, Ill. In their view, Scott can handle additional missions—it already houses US Transportation Command, Air Mobility Command, an AMC numbered air force, and numerous other Air Force and DOD entities—and, in Costello’s words in a joint statement, is “a perfect fit” for USAF’s new cyber NAF. Scott is on the list of potential sites the Air Force released last month, but it faces stiff competition from the other five locations, including Barksdale AFB, La., which currently hosts the start-up cyber operation. According to the Illinois delegation’s letter, the St. Louis area offers “the scientific and technical expertise needed in the Cyber Command workforce.” And, it states, “The security and force protection exceed Air Force standards and guidelines and are well suited to support Cyber Command requirements and high-speed network capacity.” Durbin notes, too, that Scott plays “an essential role … in the region’s economy” and the new NAF would “create more good-paying jobs in the Metro-East area.”
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.