The United States Senate is considering legislation that would slash funding to the Joint National Integration Center (JNIC) located at Schriever Air Force Base.
The legislation would cut funding for national missile defense research and have a negative local economic impact of $120 million and cost up to 850 jobs in El Paso County, a spokesman in U.S. Senator Wayne Allard’s office said.
Allard is offering an amendment to restore the cuts and continue to robustly fund research and development for ballistic missile defense.
If the cuts happen, the effect would have a far more serious impact on Colorado Springs than the announcement yesterday that U.S. Space Command is being moved to Offutt Air Force Base at Omaha, Nebraska.
The Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce is working with Allard to restore the cuts in the Senate version of the 2003 Defense Authorization bill. “These cuts will have a very negative economic impact on Colorado Springs,” said Will Temby, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce. “We are working with Senator Allard on this issue and he has been a true champion – working tirelessly to restore these cuts to the overall program but specifically to the JNIC.”
The Joint National Integration Center (JNIC) is responsible for missile defense test and evaluation capabilities and to ensure that ballistic missile defense systems are integrated into an interoperable system. It continues to be an integral part of the testing and evaluation of ballistic missile defense systems as directed by Congress. The JNIC facility at Schriever AFB is a 571,000-square-foot facility built at a cost of $116 million.
“This facility is a national treasure,” Temby said. “There is an enormous amount of money invested in the JNIC. These cuts would cause it to be mothballed and not continue its valuable testing function. That is not a wise investment of taxpayer funds.
“The Allard amendment is critical to continuing our efforts on national missile defense and on keeping Colorado Springs at the forefront of military space operations.”
JNIC is a secure facility housing over 700 personnel, with tools for software development, analysis, wargaming, testing, and data arch-iving. The adjoining Consolidated Support Facility provides 110,500 square feet of space for administrative personnel. The facilities have highly automated security systems.