COLUMBUS, Ohio (October 7, 2020)—Wherever and however the next war is fought, Ohio-based defense power and knowledge will play a role in preparing for and fighting it, participants in the 2020 Ohio Defense and Aerospace Forum said Tuesday.
“We know the world is not getting safer,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, who led a panel at the virtual forum, exploring that very question. That panel included Col. Kimberly Fitzgerald, 178th Wing commander at the Springfield Air National Guard Base; George Lecakes, vice president and general manager, national security for Battelle; and Col Patrick Miller, the installation and 88th Air Base Wing commander at Wright Patterson Air Force Base.
Nearly 30 years after the end of the Cold War, the United States again finds itself focusing on state actors, in an emerging “great power” competition against China and Russia, moving away from a focus on terrorism, said Turner, who is ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Strategic Forces.
Fitzgerald said that since 2005, the Springfield base had moved into mostly an intelligence mission set, focusing on cyber intelligence and other intelligence areas, partnering with NASIC — the National Air and Space Intelligence Center at Wright Patterson — among others.
The Springfield base also flies remotely piloted aircraft.
“We are postured to help with the fight against our near-peer adversaries because the traditional wing would do the same thing for 25, 30, 50 years, flying the same airplanes," Fitzgerald said. "Now with this intelligence mission set, things are evolving so quickly.
“And there is no big infrastructure to change," she added. “We have connections, computers and brain power, basically. We just shift to what the new focus is.”
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