WASHINGTON, D.C. – The three congressmen representing Southern Illinois have joined in an effort to push the region’s availability for a major federal intelligence agency now based in St. Louis.
Congressmen John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, and Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, sent a letter to National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Director Robert Cardillo on Thursday requesting his agency consider the St. Clair County site near Scott Air Force Base for the new NGA West Facilities.
“Illinois represents approximately one-quarter of the greater St. Louis metropolitan area and nearly 30 percent of current NGA West employees,” the congressmen wrote. “This site adjacent to a military base is the most logical, easiest to secure, with the best transportation options – including public mass transit, and with the best fit into a community among the choices available.”
“The NGA is a critical part of the U.S. intelligence community, bringing together imagery and analysis to create the clearest possible window to the world for national security decision makers,” added Shimkus. “I have no doubt that the Scott AFB community would be thrilled to welcome the intelligence professionals at NGA West to a new home on our side of the Mississippi.”
An estimated 3,000 jobs are involved in the St. Louis facility in which it is now located. Two other sites, both in the St. Louis area, are also in the running.
“Relocating the NGA West Facility adjacent to Scott AFB would be a big win and a common sense step forward for intelligence employees who call Southern Illinois home,” said Bost. “At a time when our national security is at increased risk, the NGA ensures we have the tools necessary to keep Americans safe, both at home and abroad.”
“Scott Air Force Base has played a crucial role in our national security for decades and the addition of the NGA would only bolster the base’s presence by pairing one of the nation’s top intelligence agencies with military leaders,” said Davis. “Out of the available locations, Scott Air Force Base can offer the security, telecommunications connections, and proximity and availability of personnel for recruitment that will allow the NGA to best perform its role in our nation’s defense.”