USACE builds on 98-year NASIC intelligence mission

Published June 29, 2015
Louisville District Commander Col. Christopher Beck (third from right) joined other officials for the groundbreaking ceremony of the Foreign Materiel Exploitation Complex at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

Louisville District Commander Col. Christopher Beck (third from right) joined other officials for the groundbreaking ceremony of the Foreign Materiel Exploitation Complex at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District is helping expand the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) facilities at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, where more than 98 years of intelligence gathering have helped protect the nation’s security.

The new $29.5 million, 58,000-square-foot Foreign Materiel Exploitation complex will nearly triple the size of the existing FME facility and doubles the laboratory space, enabling NASIC to execute the ever-increasing number of exploitation projects.

The USACE Louisville District, which serves as the design and construction agent for this project, awarded the construction contract to Messer Construction Co., Dayton, Ohio, which will begin work on the new facility this summer.

“This exploitation lab is integral in U.S. Air Force intelligence collection and we’re honored to be a part of a project so critical to our nation’s security,” said Steve Farkus, Louisville District project manager.
FME—one of many intelligence missions at NASIC—is the reverse-engineering of foreign air, space and cyberspace-related military systems to help provide the U.S. with a better understanding of potential adversary capabilities. These discoveries are vital for national decision and policy makers, war planning and tactics development, and joint weapon system acquisition decisions.

“I will tell you, nobody allows us to know our enemy better than what NASIC does for us,” said Gen. “Hawk” Carlisle, commander, Air Combat Command, during his keynote address for the official groundbreaking event held June 19, 2015.

“What [NASIC] gives us is advantage against every adversary out there,” said Carlisle. “The advantage that NASIC gives us because we know our enemy cannot be overstated.”

Since 1917 FME has been a part of the NASIC mission. FME was in the spotlight in World War II, when pilots, engineers and maintainers flew captured enemy aircraft and materiel home to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to be dismantled and studied.

Those traditions have continued and now USACE gets an integral part in helping build upon that legacy.

“Our job is to facilitate a smooth construction project,” said Farkus. “When there’s a snag, how do we beat it, how do we solve it—that’s what we’ll have to figure out and the type of challenges we will have from here on out during construction.”

The project, which requires construction of a new state-of-the-art laboratory and accompanying site work and landscaping, is slated to take approximately two years to complete and will tie in to the existing facility.

“The whole team has to work together,” said Farkus. “We can never finish the project alone. We’ve got to work with all the players and stakeholders—to include our design firm, which made the plans and specifications—to see it through to completion.”