States vie to be home for Cyber CommandNebraska officials hope to convince the Air Force that the best location for its new Cyber Command headquarters is Offutt Air Force Base on the south edge of Omaha. Nebraska, along with the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, responded to the Air Force’s request for information ahead of this week’s July 1 deadline.
OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska officials hope to convince the Air Force that the best location for its new Cyber Command headquarters is Offutt Air Force Base on the south edge of Omaha.
Nebraska, along with the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, responded to the Air Force’s request for information ahead of this week’s July 1 deadline.
To bolster the case for Offutt, Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman solicited letters of support from the governors of Kansas, Minnesota, South Dakota and Wyoming.
“It is our belief that locating the Air Force cyber mission at Offutt AFB in Nebraska is best for America, best for the Air Force and best for the Command,” Heineman wrote.
At stake are up to 550 new military positions at the headquarters alone and perhaps thousands more in the community around the winning base.
Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., in April wrote to the Air Force secretary asking that Minot Air Force Base be considered as a location for the Cyber Command.
The Cyber Command military mission is to use military hardware and software to make sure the Air Force has access to its key computers and networks while trying to deny similar access to enemies.
The Air Force warned the competing bases and cities that its financial plum might be sliced up, depending on mission and financial needs.
Offutt-area representatives have already made presentations to Air Force brass, as have other bases and their community leaders across the country.
Other Air Force bases reported to be in the running include Keesler in Biloxi, Miss.; Langley in Hampton, Va.; and Peterson in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Nebraska officials say Offutt would be best because it has:
— Ready access to an extensive fiber optic network with capacity to grow.
— Facilities that are immediately available and room to expand Offutt onto 136 adjoining acres.
— Nearby universities with strong programs in subjects related to the Cyber Command’s mission.
— Reliable and cost-effective power supply.
— An educated work force.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said his state could supplement Nebraska’s resources with educational support and talented workers.
And Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal said Offutt makes sense as the home for Cyber Command partly because it is already home to the U.S. Strategic Command.
“The central location of Offutt, the historical role of the base and the community support make this a logical choice,” Freudenthal said.
And South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds promised the region would support the Cyber Command if it makes Nebraska its home.
“The citizens of the upper Midwestern states will support and be cooperative in any way we can with the new command at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska,” Rounds wrote.
The Air Force said it will organize teams to review each community’s suitability and make recommendations. The preferred site and short list of alternatives is scheduled to be announced by mid-November. And the final siting selections for the headquarters and its supporting units should be made by September next year.
On the Net:
Air Force Cyber Command: www.afcyber.af.mil
U.S. Air Force: www.af.mil
Offutt Air Force Base: www.offutt.af.mil