Editorials

NGA forum is chance to fight illogic, save taxes

This artist’s rendering of the North St. Louis site for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is out of date. NGA is now discussing putting the facility underground.
This artist’s rendering of the North St. Louis site for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is out of date. NGA is now discussing putting the facility underground.

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s new western headquarters is not coming to St. Clair County as long as Robert Cardillo is agency director. He again made it clear he was not changing his mind when he wrote this week to the Illinois Congressional Delegation to refute a locally commissioned security study.

Also clear, again, is that Cardillo is not pushing his own agenda. Putting the spy mapping agency in North St. Louis is to fulfill the Obama Administration’s Promise Zone promise, not to put it in the best, most logical, most cost-efficient location.

Here’s more evidence from his letter: “While the Final (Environmental Impact Statement) for NGA-East in 2005 had a much more detailed discussion of anti-terrorism/force protection issues, the chief difference between then and now is that the Base Realignment and Closure process directed the consolidation of NGA operations to Fort Belvoir and emphasized enhanced (anti-terrorism/force protection) measures. The (anti-terrorism/force protection) issues for N2W are equally important.”

Here’s the translation: Security and protecting against terrorists were important in 2005 when NGA moved its main headquarters out of an urban area and next to an isolated military base. We’re not doing the same thing now because security is still important.

Scratching your head? That’s because it’s nonsense.

The report that rationalized the North St. Louis pick was filled with mistakes and pretzel logic which appeared to be hastily re-done to support the foregone, political decision to use the $1.75 billion project for urban renewal. Cardillo is just the front man for those who say “to heck with security and military mission and doing what is most cost-effective for taxpayers.”

They are even talking about putting this new headquarters underground to secure it in North St. Louis. No cost overruns there.

“Nearly every objective metric proves that St. Clair County is the superior choice for the new NGA facility,” U.S. Rep. Mike Bost said. “So it begs the question, ‘How did NGA come to the conclusion that it belongs in North St. Louis instead?’ Unfortunately, I’ve never received an adequate answer to that question. Therefore, I’ve decided to host a public forum that will give my constituents a chance to have their voices heard, because NGA clearly ignored their concerns during the public comment period.”

That meeting is 10 a.m. Friday at the Katy Cavins Community Center, 308 E. Fifth St., in O’Fallon. Packing that meeting might not change the outcome, but it is a chance to show the feds that tax dollars intended for defense should not be spent on the hope that millenials will want to ride their fixies into North St. Louis bunkers for work.

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