Editorials

As long as you’re in town, Mr. President, here’s what to do for us

Spy mapping belongs next to Scott Air Force Base

St. Louis is tied up in legalities and a scandal at the new National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency construction site. The fix? Put the spy mapping agency next to Scott Air Force Base, where it was intended to go.
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St. Louis is tied up in legalities and a scandal at the new National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency construction site. The fix? Put the spy mapping agency next to Scott Air Force Base, where it was intended to go.

President Donald Trump will be in our midst Thursday at Granite City Steel, so while we have his attention and as he’s looking to help Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Bost get reelected here’s an idea: Put NGA-West at Scott Air Force Base.

A president who takes glee in undoing that which his predecessor did should look at the poor, political decision to put the new National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency western headquarters in north St. Louis. Barack Obama put his thumb on the scale and ordered that the spy mapping agency move from its small South St. Louis home to a $1.75 billion complex next to a polluted public housing site and amid decades of willful decay.

But the new home doesn’t have a clear title and there have been public relations nightmares associated with demolition and dusting a local school so that children were having respiratory problems. No concrete has been poured, so it would be easy to make the right decision for the proper defense mission reasons and put NGA next to Scott Air Force Base.

Military planners saw the Scott site as a no-brainer. It provides security, proximity to NGA’s biggest client, interstate access, mass transit, an airport and hundreds of acres that would be free to the NGA.

So this is a change for Mr. Trump to undo an Obama wrong, secure the future of Scott, make the nation’s defenses stronger and help his buddy from southern Illinois stay in Congress.

We hope local leaders deliver the message. And maybe the Air Force One pilot was formerly stationed at Scott and will tip the wings to give our Commander-in-Chief a good view of NGA’s proper home.

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