U.S. Rep. Mike Turner has been named chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, giving him an even more prominent perch from which to protect Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
In that role, Turner joins the so-called “Gang of Eight,” a group of senior lawmakers who will see the nation’s most sensitive classified information.
“We have real adversaries who want to do real harm to the United States,” Turner said in an interview Wednesday. “We’re going to be that resource in Congress that focuses on: How do we keep our country safe.”
Turner, a Dayton Republican, has been a prominent voice on the future of Wright-Patterson and two of its key missions, the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) and the new National Space Intelligence Center — also known as “Space Delta 18,″ as the 18th member of the federal intelligence community.
“A lot of the work at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is classified,” Turner said. “A significant portion of the funding of the operations at Wright-Patt come through the intelligence community. I have a seat at the table being able to fashion intelligence community policies and funding, goals and objectives. That gives me an opportunity to impact Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.”
The National Space Intelligence Center was formed and welcomed its first commander, Col. Marqus Randall, last June in a ceremony at Wright State University’s Nutter Center.
Turner, a former mayor of Dayton, joined the Intelligence Committee in 2015 and became ranking member and the top Republican member last year, positioning him for the chairmanship when Republicans took the House majority in the November elections.
Since he assumed the chairmanship of the intelligence panel, Turner no longer serves as subcommittee chairman on the House Armed Services Committee, a spokesman said.
In the past two years, Turner pushed for the co-location of the National Space Intelligence Center with NASIC at Wright-Patterson.
Earlier this month, the House GOP Steering Committee recommended Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Troy, for membership in the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Rep. Brad Wenstrup, a Cincinnati Republican, joins Turner on the Intelligence Committee.
Also among Ohio lawmakers, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, was named chair of the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. Another Ohio Republican, Rep. Mike Carey, was named to the Committee on House Administration.
Turner’s district now includes the city of Springfield and southern portions of Clark County.
Wright-Patterson is home to core Air Force research and logistics missions and is the largest employer in one place in the state of Ohio.
Created in 1977, the Intelligence Committee is responsible for oversight of the U.S. intelligence community. In fiscal year 2022, the intelligence community had funding of nearly $90 billion, although only the topline funding request is made public, by law.
As chairman, Turner will author the annual Intelligence Authorization Act funding and directing intelligence community actions.
This week, McCarthy officially denied seats on the committee to Democratic Reps. Eric Swalwell and Adam Schiff, the former chairman of the panel.
“From the Adam Schiff era of impeachment, the committee had lost its way,” Turner said Wednesday. Under Schiff, the Intelligence Committee led in questioning of witnesses in the first impeachment of former President Donald Trump in 2020.
According to national reports, Schiff told reporters this week “If McCarthy thinks this is going to stop me from vigorously pushing back against his efforts to tear down these institutions, he’s going to find out just how wrong he is.”
“Now that Republicans are in the majority I am confident that under the leadership of Chairman Mike Turner, this important committee will once again focus on getting ahead of America’s most dangerous threats,” McCarthy said in a statement to this news outlet. “Mike has spent nearly a decade working on intelligence priorities and national security issues, and has demonstrated he has the skills needed to provide important oversight on the nation’s intelligence agencies.”
About the Author