Missile Defense Integration Center staying at Schriever

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The Missile Defense Integration and Operations Center at Schriever Air Force Base isn’t going anywhere.

That’s the word received by Sen. Mark Udall’s office after Udall, Rep. Doug Lamborn and Rep. John Salazar sent letters to the Department of Defense to keep the post in Colorado.

Lt. Gen. Patrick O’Reilly had indicated he would like to consolidate the MDIOC with the Missile Defense Agency headquarters, located in Huntsville, Ala.

But Udall’s office is now reporting O’Reilly has backed off the plan, and the general sent a letter to his office indicating the operations would stay at Schriever.

The MDIOC has been at Schriever since 1988, and employs hundreds of civilians and military personnel. It is the research and development arm of the Missile Defense Agency, and also houses agency operations, tests and evaluation and operational support, as well as training for missile defense.

The MDIOC occupies a 676,000-square-foot facility at Schriever.

Space Foundation expands exhibit hall

The Space Symposium is growing — and room is getting tight at the Broadmoor, where the event is held every year.

The Colorado Springs-based Space Foundation is expanding its exhibit area to the basement level of the hotel’s Colorado Hall. It had occupied just the main level and the International Building.

“It’s getting tight,” said Janet Stevens, spokeswoman for the Space Foundation. “It was really tight last year — and we always sell out the sleeping rooms. But the Broadmoor always works with us.”

The foundation’s annual event draws more than 8,000 aerospace professionals to Colorado Springs every April. Not only does the event book every room in the Broadmoor, it also uses up nearly every corner of meeting space.

But that doesn’t mean the foundation is looking at other options — at least not yet.

“Being at the Broadmoor is such an integral part of the symposium,” Stevens said. “We are committed to having it there for the next few years at least. And they’ve been great about finding new space.”

In addition to using the bottom level of the Colorado Hall for exhibit space, the move also will allow some corporations to use rooms on that level for meeting space. In previous years, large corporations such as Boeing or Raytheon used sleeping rooms for meetings.

“Doing this frees up some sleeping rooms as well,” Stevens said. “We’re not talking huge numbers, but there are more.”

It’s too early to tell what attendance might be for next year’s symposium, scheduled for mid-April. The 2010 event saw a 12 percent increase in attendance, due in part to a new daylong event that focused on cyber security.

“We know a lot of aerospace companies had layoffs this year, so that could affect attendance,” Stevens said. “But we’ve balanced that out by attracting people from other arenas, like cyber security. We’re thinking there’s a lot of buzz already this year, so we’re expecting a big event.”

To register for the 2011 Space Symposium, go to www.spacefoundation.org.

Northrop launches ad campaign to save contract

At least one aerospace and defense giant is fighting back against plans to cut the defense budget by $100 billion during the next five years.

Northrop Grumman has launched a national advertising campaign called “Support Global Hawk,” urging people to email or call Congress to protest cuts to the budget. In addition to ads in newspapers across the state, the company has also launched a website, http://www.northropgrumman.com/supportglobalhawk/.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has indicated that defense contractors will bear a large part of the cuts.

Northrop is trying to save Global Hawk, an unmanned aerial vehicle that is currently in development. More than 2,300 people current work on the project, which is based in San Diego. The company is building 40 aircraft, with plans to build 140 more if funding isn’t cut. The Air Force and Navy are the largest customers for the drones.

The company fears the project will be cut because of the success of the Predator drones, a surveillance craft created by general Atomics Aeronautical Systems.

Defense analysts say it’s a bold move, since contractors seldom reach out to the general public in an effort to save their government contracts.

Amy Gillentine can be reached at 719-329-5205 or at amy.gillentine@csbj.com. Friend her on Facebook.