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Boom times at Wright-Patterson could end

Live by the sword, die by it. For Dayton, Ohio, home to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the booming days could end, as Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates looks for cuts in contractor spending.

Wright-Patterson boosted the Dayton region's economy by $5.1 billion last year, up from $700 million the previous year, according to a recent report prepared by officials at the base. Even though the base was expected to grow in the coming years as other divisions moved because of BRAC [Base Realignment and Closure], that's now in doubt because Gates has promised to cut back spending on contractor funding 10 percent for each of the next three years, according to an article in the Dayton Business Journal.

It's been good times though for Dayton area construction companies. The article notes that Wilcon Construction of Dayton won a $13 million job to renovate and expand the 88th Security Forces Squadron Operations facility at the base. Butt Construction Co. won a $36 million new building and renovation job for the Air Force Research Laboratory sensors complex. And Butt Construction received seven military projects, totaling more than $300 million in the last few years.

Construction companies are one of the major beneficiaries of the post-9/11 phenomenon of new national security organizations and the push to build more secure facilities. The Post's Top Secret America series found that in Washington and the surrounding area alone, 33 building complexes for top-secret government work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings - about 17 million square feet of space.

By Dana Hedgpeth  |  August 16, 2010; 8:24 AM ET
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Next: Pentagon could save $5.4 billion


Dana and The Post, I appreciate your continued interest and follow up to your series, 'A Top Secret America'. I am also encouraged that the Obama Administration is now addressing, so quickly, the waste and redundancy within the government. What I would like to see the Post address is the criminal undertones and activities that some of these government contractors conduct and with the use of government funding. Thousand of Americans report offenses, torture and surveillance by government entities. The community of victims reaches millions. This aspect should also be investigated. These contractors, local police and others have abused the systems and their top secret clearances. They have illegally access the lives of millions as stated by the United Inspector Generals reports. They report from 8000 to 10,000 potential terrorist threats daily, per The Director of Intelligences Report on Post 9/11. 10,000 potential terrorist threats daily, really? Is this why children and elderly are appearing as ‘listed’ individuals and now on ‘no-fly’ government watch lists? These aspects should be investigated. The total government cuts should reach the Trillions, not billions. Thank you again for your continued follow.

Posted by: dmiles1 | August 17, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

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