Tag Archives: Wright Patterson Air Force Base

Blue Ribbon Task Force Community Update

by U.S. Rep. Steve Austria

Last week, I joined the Blue Ribbon Task Force in Dayton to update community leaders and elected officials on the status of the recommendations from the Blue Ribbon Commission report. I think it is important now, more than ever, to focus on how our region can bring our ‘A’ game to the table to be more competitive and bring additional jobs to Ohio. With Wright-Patterson Air Force Base being the largest single site employer in the state, it is vitally important that we continue to evaluate how we can help grow Wright-Patt and better do business with the base.

The Blue Ribbon Commission, which was formed in 2009, was made up of small businesses, community leaders, retirees from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB) and academia, to evaluate the strengths of the region and better compete for contracts in support of WPAFB. The Blue Ribbon Task Force was then formed to implement the recommendations proposed by the Blue Ribbon Commission Report in July 2010. The recommendations aim to support Ohio’s military facilities and increase the number of WPAFB contracts awarded to local companies, bringing more jobs to the region. The Task Force has done an extraordinary job implementing the Commission’s recommendations, and I am encouraged to hear of their progress and success. This community-based effort has truly taken enormous strides towards returning jobs to the state of Ohio.

Also last week, the Task Force launched and highlighted a social media Web site that was created to address several of the Commission’s recommendations. The Web site was designed to be a resource to the community, where people can share community information. I encourage you to learn more by visiting this page on my Web site to see for yourself how the Task Force’s efforts can help bring the community together. Wright State University’s School of Engineering and Computer Science has also agreed to run and operate the Web site from here on out, and I look forward to their continued efforts.

Dayton Development Coalition Scam May Be Coming To An end

By John Mitchel

RE: “Officials to review coalition’s funding”, Dayton Daily News, December 18, 2010: For years
our public servants have been writing blank checks to the Dayton Development Coalition on the
pretense that they and they alone are responsible for “saving” jobs at Wright Patterson. Rarely, if ever
do the Coalition or the politicians give credit to Wright Patt leadership or the folks that actually do the
work that has established Wright Patterson as a national treasure.

Instead they heap credit on themselves and the Coalition’s President and CEO who was paid $285,000
in 2005 — that’s about double what the Governor of Ohio earns and more than the Vice-president of the
United States. And don’t believe the lie that those exorbitant salaries and bonuses are not funded with
taxpayer dollars. You see, a basic principal of finance and economics teaches us that money is “fungible,”
or is universally exchangeable between two obligations, in this case between public corruption and national
defense or local infrastructure. Unfortunately the corrupt politicians and their insider sycophants at the
Coalition are the big winners here.

However it looks as though enough is enough and at least some elected officials are demanding transparency
at the Coalition and elsewhere. It’s time to clean out the barn and shutting down the Dayton Development
Coalition would be a good place to start.

Other commentary and analysis by John Mitchel may read at www.reformcongress.com.

Defense Spending and the Ohio National Guard

By Rep. Steve Austria

As a nation, we have asked more of our men and women serving in our National Guard with longer deployments and more missions. As a Member of the Homeland Security Committee, I have attended many deployment ceremonies and traveled to Afghanistan to visit our soldiers.

In addition to playing a vital role in protecting our nation, the Springfield Air National Guard Base and Rickenbacher Air and Army National Guard Base missions help support and strengthen our local economy. We now have an opportunity to expand the Ohio National Guard’s role in Springfield and Ohio with the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and in Fairborn with Calamityville, a homeland security response team.

Given the integral role the National Guard plays both home and abroad, it is critical it receives adequate funding. Currently, Guard and Reserve operational functions are financed through the “Overseas Contingency Operations” budget, a supplemental account that also funds the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, as these missions continue to wind down, this account will inevitably become obsolete.

Replacing the current account with a more certain, dedicated stream of funding must be a priority. The National Guard will continue to be critical in protecting our nation as it expands its role from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to the current and future homeland security challenges we face. Thus, it is imperative that the National Guard have the necessary funding to successfully complete their missions and return home safely.

Rep. Steve Austria on Blue Ribbon Commission

It is important now, more than ever, to focus on how our region can be more competitive and bring additional jobs to Ohio. This week,  I joined members of the Blue Ribbon Commission at a meeting held at Wright State University. I appointed the commission to examine how local companies and universities can better position themselves to win more contracts, create more jobs and support Wright Patterson Air Force Base, one of the largest single site employers in the state. It is made up of a broad cross-section of talented and energetic community leaders who have extensive experience both inside and outside the fence, including business leaders and individuals in academia.

When the commission was formed, members were tasked with submitting their recommendations for increasing the number of contracts awarded to local companies, in turn creating more private-sector jobs in the area that can be sustained for years to come. They were asked to look into a wide variety of issues including identifying any impediments to local companies and determining the best business model to receive contracts.

The commission has completed its work and identified 18 specific ways we can enhance regional economic opportunities through partnerships with the business community, academia and government in the Dayton area. John McCance, who is retired Air Force, and Gary Kowal, who has several years of experience in defense contracting, served as co-chairs of the Blue Ribbon Commission and presented the commission’s findings, conclusions and recommendations to the public. Some recommendations highlighted in the report include,

* Utilize social media (a website, or collaborative networking site) to house centralized information to include such items as a calendar of events; detailed information on government requirements; prime/sub contractor opportunities and links to related informational sites.

* Leverage the region’s engineering capabilities and skill base to accelerate subcontractor opportunities with large defense contractors who are involved in the research, development and manufacture of weapon systems acquired by WPAFB.

* Publish the “Corporate Development Education Framework” as a tool to help beginning, intermediate and advanced businesses assess their government contracting maturity and identify areas for improvement.

* Establish a centralized electronic capability for local area businesses having service, R&D, manufacturing, and other capabilities to provide detailed information about their qualifications, capacity and contact information and have it indexed by product and service.

* Encourage the State of Ohio and local governments to support a program, similar to the State of Utah, which provides funded support in the areas of opportunity assessment, strategy, proposal development, contract negotiations, capture and program support.

* Provide access to additional resources and training in the area of proposal writing and preparation.

Rep. Martin Supports Jobs at WPAFB

State Representative Jarrod B. Martin (R-Beavercreek) this month showed his support for the recent announcement of 200 new high-paying jobs to Wright Patterson Air Force Base by the Air Force Material Command.

“This will be a tremendous addition for the Greater Dayton area and as a community, we are grateful for the addition of these positions at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.” Martin said. “These are the high-paying jobs that Dayton and our state are in desperate need of during these difficult times when Ohio seems to be shedding jobs.”

The announcement was made by the Air Force Material Command and the new jobs will pay between $60,000 and $100,000 per year according to officials. The new jobs are scheduled to be added later this year and will continue through 2011.

“We are happy to bring this initiative one step closer to realizing efficiencies, improved support and ultimately taxpayer savings,” said Marie McManus, head of the Installation Acquisition Transformation Enterprise Sourcing Group. “We remain committed to maintaining and even strengthening our resolve to provide opportunities to small businesses and socio-economic groups.”

These positions will center on non-weapons purchases of goods for other military installations across the country and persons interested in applying can do so once they are posted on www.USAJobs.gov.

The rest of the story

RE: “Greene County snubs advocate of its interests,” Dayton Daily News, Friday, January 29, 2010. Greene County Commissioners Marilyn Reid and Alan Anderson were correct in significantly reducing taxpayer contributions to the Dayton Development Coalition (DDC), except their rationale for doing so didn’t reveal the whole story. True enough, the budget is tight, but even in good times our elected officials shouldn’t be throwing money over the fence to special interests without competition for that work, without value added and without oversight. That’s precisely what happened in 2005-2006 with the Base Realignment And Closure (BRAC) Initiative Agreement between Greene County and the DDC. The simple truth is the only jobs protected by this effort were high priced consultants, lobbyists and career politicians who received kickbacks to their political campaigns. Here are the facts to support that assertion.

In 2005 and 2006, the last 21 months of the $1.9 million BRAC Initiative Agreement, the Dayton Development Coalition also received a $2.34 million Third Frontier grant through Development Research Corporation, a non-profit company fronting for the DDC. In 2005-2006 the DDC paid over $500,000 to their President and CEO, over $300,000 to a Washington lobbying firm currently under investigation by the FBI, $190,000 to Qbase which is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, and over $200,000 to two other consultants, not to mention at least $50,000 on domestic and foreign travel.* Although this is just the tip of the iceberg, it’s hard to disagree that it reveals a broad pattern of self-dealing, waste and abuse, if not blatant corruption by the Dayton Development Coalition and their inner circle.

Ms. Reid and Mr. Anderson finally understand that Greene County and Ohio taxpayer dollars had minimum impact if any at all on saving or creating jobs at Wright Patterson. But what they did impact was the financial well-being of the special interests that recycled that money back to the politicians who in the end took credit for job creation they had nothing to do with. This is an insult to Greene County taxpayers, not to mention Wright Patt professionals that day in and day out provide the real value added to our warfighters who put everything on the line to protect our freedom and liberty.

*Source: BRAC Initiative Agreement, Internal Revenue Service, Federal Election Commission records and other documents obtained in a public records disclosure lawsuit against Greene County Commissioners (Case #: 2009CV0305).

Austria’s Contracting Commission An Insult To Wright Patt Professionals

By John Mitchel

RE: “Contracting process discussed,” Dayton Daily News, December 7, 2009

Steve Austria’s Blue Ribbon Commission on contracting is a classic example of “moral hazard,” or dishonest agents manufacturing a need that doesn’t exist. The tragic irony in Congressman Austria’s action is that he is asking special interests to “shed a light on the contracting process” that is dictated by Congress and Congress alone. Wright Patt acquisition professionals are bound by law to follow rules and regulations that emerge from Congress, so if Austria thinks he needs to alter or fix the process, he needs to go back to Washington and deal with the other 534 members of that “elite” body.

The simple truth is; Austria’s Blue Ribbon Commission is a reelection tool. He realizes he has done little to warrant a second term, and with the May 2010 primary approaching, he’s desperate to convince his constituents, not to mention his campaign contributors that he deserves the opportunity to get two years closer to qualifying for lucrative retirement and healthcare benefits, and other perks that go along with belonging to that elitist group known as “career politicians.”

Steve Austria’s motives are an open book and have been for years, but if you still aren’t convinced, a simple question will seal the deal. Ask Mr. Austria how he feels about term limits, self-imposed or otherwise. His answer will probably go like this, revealing yet another moral hazard – Mr. Austria most likely will respond, “I cannot leave Congress because no one else is capable of serving the 7th District as well as I can.” That is the deception that plagues America, and will continue to do so until we elect citizen legislators who serve the people, then return to their hometowns and families to enjoy the liberty and freedom they helped protect.

Rep. Steve Austria Commission On WPAFB Contracting With Local Business

In a recent Dayton Daily News report, Rep. Steve Austria announced the formation of a local commission to study ways to improve contracting relations of area business with Wright Patterson Air Force Base.

The goal of commission of 20 regional industry, academic, and government leaders is to study WPAFB is to find ways to assist area business win more contracts. Another goal is assist the Pentagon with its plan to identify and hire defense contractor employees in order to expand its work force of contracting specialists for acquiring aircraft, weapons and services.

The completion of the commission’s study is expected to take about 5 months. Austria plans to share the final report with the community.

The news report failed to mention is goal of helping the business community take full advantage of the huge government stimulus under HR 1 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 being used to fund new building programs at federal institutions like Wright Patterson AFB and the Veteran’s Administration Hospitals.