Mich. delegation backs cyber squadron in Battle Creek

David Shepardson
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington — Michigan’s congressional delegation on Wednesday wrote the Pentagon in support of locating a cyber operations squadron at Battle Creek Air National Guard Base, saying it would represent “significant cost savings” over other locations.

The squadron would be part of the 110th Attack Wing of the Michigan Air National Guard. The delegation said the “unique location and capabilities would best serve and enable the defense department’s cyber security operations to protect the nation and lead this major initiative in military cyber security.”

Gov. Rick Snyder raised the issue last month during a meeting with Pentagon officials on a trip to Washington and is strongly supporting the project.

Locating a cyber operations squadron in Battle Creek “will utilize existing infrastructure to keep costs low, and provide significant capabilities in meeting America’s cyber security needs,” said the letter to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James and others.

The members also said the state’s network of technology professionals would offer a base for recruitment, as well as its 22 colleges with degree programs in cybersecurity.

The Pentagon is making cybersecurity a growing priority in the face of threats around the world.

The 110th Attack Wing is home to a pilot program training technicians and has much of the infrastructure required to take on the mission. The delegation said locating the squadron at Battle Creek could save $2.2 million compared to a location without the same capabilities.

The letter, led by Sen Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, and Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, was signed by the entire Michigan delegation.

The delegation is also pushing to get the Pentagon to locate a missile defense site in Battle Creek.

DShepardson@detroitnews.com

Detroit News Staff Writer Melissa Nann Burke contributed.