Since the preliminary decision was announced to save St. Louis from itself by putting a defense installation in the middle of an impoverished, crime-riddled urban neighborhood, a few things have come to light.
It was revealed that they pulled back from the open land of the former Pruitt-Igoe public housing complex. Although the U.S. Army’s Cold War experiments spreading radiation across the projects are documented, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers could find no evidence of same so the ground must be clean. Still, no explanation why Pruitt-Igoe was part of the North St. Louis site and then suddenly wasn’t. The potential contamination is still next door to the place they want 3,100 NGA employees to work.
It was revealed that an independent study of the security showed North St. Louis could be a terrorist’s playground. The St. Clair County site next to Scott would be a traditional choice with a secured perimeter, secured infrastructure and plenty of space as a buffer zone from a car bomb.
It was revealed that the military has 22 percent excess capacity and is seeking another round of base closings. A stand-alone facility, such as a North St. Louis NGA site, would be a perfect target for the process that seeks consolidation. Putting it at Scott makes the base and NGA stronger, plus saves money as the spy mapping agency finds synergies and savings by having its biggest clients just a few hundred yards away at Scott.
St. Clair County offers the NGA the most efficient, effective and economical site. Southwestern Illinois offers a steady stream of young people coming out of the military with security clearances and veterans’ hiring preferences, plus geographic information system degrees from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
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