Center breaks ground on FME expansion

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Raymond Hoy
  • National Air and Space Intelligence Center

The National Air and Space Intelligence Center broke ground on a new facility for its foreign materiel exploitation mission here June 19.

The $29.5 million, 58,000 square-foot addition will nearly triple the size of the existing FME facility, and doubles the lab space, enabling NASIC to execute an ever-increasing number of projects.

"As an organization, we are approaching nearly 100 years of FME relevance, " said Col. Leah Lauderback, NASIC commander, during the groundbreaking ceremony. "With the incredible innovative workforce at NASIC, the increasing demand for more intelligence, and a new facility such as this, I believe we will be here for another 100 years."

Foreign materiel exploitation is one of the many intelligence production missions at NASIC. FME is the reverse-engineering of foreign air, space and cyberspace-related military systems that helps provide the U.S. with a better understanding of potential adversary capabilities.

"One of the basic tenants of any kind of warfare is: know your enemy," said the ceremony's keynote speaker Gen. Hawk Carlisle, the commander of Air Combat Command. "I will tell you, nobody allows us to know your enemy more than NASIC. I've spent a lot of my time out here, and the work done in the foreign materiel exploitation has impressed me every time.

U.S. Rep. Mike Turner also spoke during the ceremony and shared his impressions of NASIC and WPAFB, touting the groundbreaking as a victory for Dayton.

Throughout its history, NASIC and its predecessor organizations have provided intelligence on current and projected threats to and from the air and space realms and FME has been a part of that endeavor from the beginning. The heyday of FME began in 1945 with Operation LUSTY, in which Col. Harold E. Watson and his "Whizzers," consisting of pilots, engineers and maintainers, flew select captured enemy aircraft and materiel home to Wright Field here to be dismantled and studied.

Construction on the new FME building will take between two and three years to complete.