The argument that NGA must remain in St. Louis because it would be difficult to find technically competent employees in St. Clair County is patently ridiculous! Scott Air Force Base is already staffed by more than 10,000 highly skilled employees, plus 30 percent of all employees at the existing NGA complex in St. Louis currently reside in Illinois.
Admittedly, siting the new NGA facility adjacent to Scott AFB would involve a commute for employees living in St. Louis, however with the lite rail system and five bridges across the Mississippi (including the recently opened Stan Musial-Veterans Memorial Bridge), it represents an easy commute from St. Louis.
Further, this area of Southwestern Illinois is rich in highly skilled and technically competent employees, augmented by highly regarded advanced learning centers. To name a few: McKendree University, Southwestern Illinois College, Southern Illinois University campuses at Carbondale and Edwardsville, Lindenwood University-Belleville, Principia College, Lewis & Clark College and Greenville College.
Finally, the county’s NGA site lies adjacent to Scott AFB which has just been recognized by Headquarters, USAF, as having the most positive Air Force-Community relationship in the nation. As a further incentive: Two new major medical centers are under construction adjacent to the county’s NGA site including the new Memorial Hospital, and the new St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.
David M. Cornell, B/G (retired) USAF, Lebanon