Turner role on Intel committee could boost NASIC, WPAFB

Rep. Mike Turner,R-Ohio, speaks during the House Armed Services Committee on the conclusion of military operations in Afghanistan and plans for future counterterrorism operations on Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Rod Lamkey/Pool via AP)

Credit: Rod Lamkey

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Rep. Mike Turner,R-Ohio, speaks during the House Armed Services Committee on the conclusion of military operations in Afghanistan and plans for future counterterrorism operations on Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Rod Lamkey/Pool via AP)

Credit: Rod Lamkey

Credit: Rod Lamkey

U.S. Rep. Mike Turner’s appointment as ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence gives Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and one of its key missions — the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) — a stronger advocate in Congress, the representative said.

The committee’s ranking membership position is one of the top national security positions in Congress.

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“In this position, I’ll be having a major impact on the development of national security policy and the budgeting process for both the Department of Defense and the intelligence community,” Turner said in an interview Monday. “As such, I’ll be in a position to affect policies that make a difference for the mission set at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.”

“It places me in the top eight out of 535 (members) in the Senate and the House for security clearance,” the Dayton Republican also said. “That gives me access to both agencies and information that could help in my advocacy for Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.”

Many political observers think Republicans today are poised to retake the House majority after the November 2022 elections. If that happens, and if House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy becomes House speaker, Turner is in line therefore to becomes chair of the Intel committee.

There were four House members who competed for the ranking membership slot, said Turner, who brought McCarthy for visits to Wright-Patterson in 2020 and 2021, for briefings on NASIC and other base missions. Chris Stewart, R-Utah; Rick Crawford, R-Arkansas; and Brad Wenstrup, another Ohio Republican, had expressed interest in the position.

Having McCarthy firsthand to see the work at the base, particularly NASIC’s role in intelligence-gathering, was important, Turner said.

“His commitment to America is unwavering, and he has established himself as a national security leader and ardent supporter of truth,” McCarthy tweeted last week.

A former two-term Republican mayor of Dayton, Turner was first elected to the House in 2002.

U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes, R-California, the committee’s outgoing ranking member, announced in December that he would leave Congress effective Jan. 1 to become the chief executive of former President Donald Trump’s new social media company.

“I have every confidence Mike will be a fearless and skillful leader for Intelligence Committee Republicans and will perform rigorous oversight over the Intelligence community. I congratulate him on his well-deserved appointment as ranking member,” Nunes said in a statement from the office of McCarthy.

Local reaction poured in Monday.

Jeff Hoagland, president and chief executive of the Dayton Development Coalition, which has long sought to protect Wright-Patterson, celebrated the move in a statement from Turner’s office. Hoagland said the promotion will give the congressman “more clout over many Wright-Patterson and defense issues because intelligence is an increasingly important part of national defense.”

“Having Rep. Turner as the lead Republican of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee is great for our nation, Ohioans and the Miami Valley because of our large military population,” said Debbie Lieberman, Montgomery County commissioner and president of the County Commissioners Association of Ohio.His expertise in national security policy, I feel, made him the obvious choice for this position and I’m excited to see his what his leadership and talent will bring to this committee.”

“Rep. Turner’s appointment to be the ranking member on the U. S. House Intelligence Committee is wonderful news for Dayton region, and the country as a whole. The expertise and leadership he has shown in working on both the Armed Services and Intelligence committees in the past have been a boon to WPAFB and the other military installations in Ohio,” said Dick Gould, president of the Greene County Board of Commissioners.

Turner has served on the House Intelligence Committee since 2018, and today serves as a ranking member of the Intelligence Modernization and Readiness (INMAR) Subcommittee.

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