Efforts to land the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency western headquarters may be restarted now that there’s a new president.
In an interview with the Belleville News-Democrat, U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, confirmed there have been discussions among metro-east leaders about approaching leaders in President Donald Trump’s administration as soon as lower-echelon appointees are in place.
Bost said there has been discussion among local leaders, such as St. Clair County Chairman Mark Kern, about bringing this up with the Trump administration.
“We have had talks with many local leaders, and all of it is waiting on the administration change before we could move forward,” Bost said. “We have met with a couple of groups and organizations that also have that same mindset.”
Kern declined to comment on the efforts and referred questions to Bost’s office.
I don’t want to get into a territorial fight. I want to make sure it’s in the best location. I still believe the best location is tied with the base, with the security and the things that are necessary there.
U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro
Last year NGA Director Robert Cardillo decided to locate the new $1.75 billion NGA West headquarters in north St. Louis.
St. Clair County officials, as well as several members in the Illinois congressional delegation, wanted the NGA to choose an area next to Scott Air Force Base, citing the free land offer, as well as the security benefits of being next to a military base.
The NGA reports to the Director of National Intelligence, according to an e-mail Don Kerr, the spokesman for the NGA, sent to the BND. James Clapper held the position during President Barack Obama’s administration.
Trump has appointed former U.S. Sen. Dan Coats from Indiana to take over the post. However, the Senate has yet to confirm Coats, and a hearing on his nomination has yet to be scheduled.
Kerr said the director of the NGA does not change with changes in the administration.
“Robert is still our director, and I have no information to give me any other indication,” Kerr wrote.
Robert (Cardillo) is still our director, and I have no information to give me any other indication.
Don Kerr, spokesman for the NGA
Bost said it is likely a matter of months, but maybe weeks, before the issue could be brought up with administration officials.
Bost said officials would have to work to convince Trump administration officials that Scott is the best location.
“I don’t want to get into a territorial fight,” Bost said. “I want to make sure it’s in the best location. I still believe the best location is tied with the base, with the security and the things that are necessary there.”
The City of St. Louis continues to prepare the north St. Louis site for the NGA West Headquarters. It held a public meeting Jan. 23 to update people on the progress that has taken place. St. Louis officials have requested bids and proposals for fencing and security around the site, as well as environmental remediation work.