Scott Air Force Base

The  $100 million complex has about 1,000 employees responsible for keeping the U.S. Department of Defense's computer network safe.
Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio

There's a new, $100 million dollar building at Scott Air Force Base that is keeping the U.S. Department of Defense's computer network out of trouble.

Military and political dignitaries gathered on Thursday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony in front of the 164,000- square-foot complex that houses the Defense Information Systems Agency's Global Operations Command. It’s the largest cyber operations center in the United States.

(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

Cyber security has become a major initiative of the Pentagon.

As part of that initiative, Scott Air Force Base has a new cyberspace operations group that will eventually include 300 new jobs. The 688th Cyberspace Wing activated the group on Tuesday.

Colonel Roger Vrooman also became the new commander of the group during Tuesday's activation ceremony. He later told members of the media that he worries about cyber attacks that aren’t detected.

Aegis Strategies logo
Wayne Pratt|St. Louis Public Radio

A new partnership in the Metro East is designed to train more workers for cybersecurity careers. Organizers are hoping it will boost the area’s chances of landing the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, which will be moving from south St. Louis.

The Midwest Cyber Center of Excellence is based just outside Scott Air Force Base. It's goal is to help to train workers in all sectors to better protect an employer's online network.

Gen. Darren W. McDew joined "St. Louis on the Air" to discuss his new position as head of U.S. Transportation Command at Scott Air Force Base.
Aine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

General Darren McDew assumed command of U.S. Transportation Command, known as USTRANSCOM, at Scott Air Force Base on August 26 at a potentially critical time for U.S. security.

Gen. Paul Selva, left, and Gen. Darren McDew
Air Force photographs

The U.S. Senate Monday confirmed Gen. Paul Selva to be vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Selva has been the commander of the U.S. Transportation Command at Scott Air Force Base since April 2014. Senators also confirmed Gen Darren McDew to replace Selva as the next commander of the U.S. Transportation Command.

Gen. Paul Selva, left, and Gen. Darren McDew
Air Force photographs

Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and all of the groups that follow the ideology of Al Qaeda from 2001 to the present are threats Air Force Gen. Paul Selva sees facing the United States -- and in that order. He also says the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration present “a direct threat to the morale of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, who deserve the best maintained and the best equipment available to fight the threats that face this nation.”

An airman at Scott Air Force Base and his working dog pay their final respects to Breston, a military working dog who was put down in June after contracting a blood infection and being diagnosed with cancer.
(Courtesy: U.S. Air Force)

“It was to say our final goodbyes. It was very important to honor Breston,” said Staff Sgt. David Yaronczyk about a memorial service for his colleague, who served in the U.S. military for more than eight years. 


Breston worked in Afghanistan as part of a drug detection effort for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and then for several years in security at Scott Air Force Base near Belleville, Ill.

Breston was a military working dog, a 9-year-old Belgian Malinois.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin says St. Clair County's proposal for the NGA's relocation to Scott Air Force Base is better than those for three Missouri sites.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said Monday he believes it would make “good sense” to locate the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency at Scott Air Force Base due to both sites’ work on cyber-security.

St. Clair County officials are hoping to lure the NGA to a 200-acre site on the base when the agency relocates from its current location in downtown St. Louis. The base is the only Illinois location being considered for the agency’s new facility alongside three other Missouri sites, including St. Louis’ north side.

ebola, Scott Air Force Base
Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio / ebola, Scott Air Force Base

As the Ebola epidemic grabbed the world’s attention last year, the U.S. military began to discuss how it could safely transport military personnel if they were infected with the contagious disease.

The answer was unveiled at Scott Air Force Base on Friday.

The Transport Isolation System was designed by Production Products, Inc., a St. Louis-based, minority-owned company. The co-founder and president, Barry Corona, said they started on the project in late October after winning the $6 million contract with the Department of Defense for 25 units.

Angela Mayfield picks out toys for her three children at the Belleville VFW on Sunday, December 14, 2014.
Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

Military parents in southwest Illinois and the surrounding area were given some help putting gifts under the Christmas tree Sunday.

About 400 toys, plus stocking stuffers and school supplies were distributed to military families at the Belleville VFW hall, just outside Scott Air Force Base.

Parents were able to select one large toy for each of their children from a variety of items donated by individuals and corporations.

Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon talked to reporters Thursday in Belleville about the impact of military spending throughout the state.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

A new report shows that Illinois’ military and defense industry contributes roughly $13.3 billion to the state’s economy – a figure that officials say could serve as a deterrent against federal cutbacks. 

Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon and the Illinois Chamber of Commerce Foundation helped produced the study, which looks at the statewide impact of military installations, Department of Defense contracts and National Guard facilities.

(Read the report here.)

Natl GEOINT Agency

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has released the location of six sites under consideration for its new facility in the St. Louis region. 

The agency employs about 3,000 people at its current location at 3200 South 2nd St. and Arsenal Street in St. Louis.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

Two Change of Command ceremonies commemorated new leadership at Scott Air Force Base on Monday.

Gen. Paul Selva now leads U.S. Transportation Command at Scott after Gen. William Fraser’s retirement. Gen. Darren McDew replaces Selva as head of Air Mobility Command.

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

The Air Force's top civilian official spent Tuesday morning at Scott Air Force Base with Illinois' political leaders. 

U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk were among the officials who showed Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James around the Metro East military installation. It was the first time James visited the base since being confirmed by the U.S. Senate late last year. Illinois Lt. Gov. Shelia Simon, St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern and Madison County Board Chairman Alan Dunstan were also on hand for James' visit.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

With big defense cuts on the horizon, Illinois’ federal and state leaders are putting up a united front to protect Scott Air Force Base. 

Both U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk were part of a federal and state delegation meeting with U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Mark Welsh. Their meeting at Scott Air Force Base comes as Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel asked Congress to re-start a base closing commission – or BRAC.

Courtesy of Terri Barnes

Author and columnist Terri Barnes now calls O’Fallon, Ill. home. But that is a recent designation determined by her husband’s transfer to Scott Air Force Base last August. First the daughter and now the wife of a career military man, she estimates O’Fallon is her family's seventeenth hometown.

Scott Air Force Base was not caught off guard by the smaller defense budget proposed earlier this week. On Tuesday, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hegel gave Congress his $496 billion dollar budget, which calls for cutting the military's size, reducing benefits for troops and scaling back spending on military equipment.

For the Air Force, the new budget means an 8 percent reduction in personnel across the board, a move Scott Air Force Base anticipated.

(Courtesy of Boeing)

We just kicked off a year-long celebration of St. Louis’ 250th anniversary.  As an editor, I had the pleasure of working with Maria Altman on her audio Valentine to the city. If you haven’t heard the piece yet, you should definitely take a listen; it’s very fun and uplifting.

(via Flickr/KurtClark)

Although sequestration could soon be at an end if President Obama signs the compromise budget into law as expected, the Department of Defense is still facing budget cuts. And another round of Base Realignments and Closings (BRAC) is expected in a few years. That puts Scott Air Force Base in a potentially precarious position.

(via Wikimedia commons/SSGT CHAD R. GANN, USAF)

Civilian workers returned to Scott Air Force Base today after almost a week on furlough because of the government shutdown. Their return was a result of a Department of Defense ruling that civilian workers whose mission contributes to “the morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of service members” could return to the job with pay. 

(Courtesy: USTRANSCOM)

Cybersecurity is especially vital to the nation's military. Last year U.S. Transportation Command at Scott Air Force Base formed the Joint Cyber Center "in recognition of cyberspace as a warfighting domain. "

Colonel Tom Clancy is Chief of the Joint Cyber Center at Scott Air Force Base. He said that during routine sweeps in 2011, more than 44,000 "attempted accesses to systems" at U.S. Transportation Command were discovered. That number quadrupled in 2012.  

(via Wikimedia commons/SSGT CHAD R. GANN, USAF)

Scott Air Force Base employees will take unpaid leave beginning Monday as a result of sequestration cuts.

The furloughs began Monday for approximately 4,500 employees. The leave will be implemented one day a week for 11 weeks; most employees will take off Mondays or Fridays. 

The furloughs will last until the end of the fiscal year in September, but spokesman Lieutenant Korey Fratini says there is no word if furloughs will continue into the next fiscal year. 

The focus right now, he said, is supporting employees and their families affected by the cuts.

(via Flickr/KurtClark)

About 5,100 civilian workers at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois are being forced to take-off 11 unpaid days, as are civilian employees at military installations throughout the Department of Defense.  The furloughs begin July 8 and are a result of the automatic federal spending cuts known as sequestration.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

The so-called sequester is going to take some military pomp out of summer events across the country.

Budget cuts have forced the Golden Knights, the Army’s signature parachute team, to cancel several of its performances.

The same goes for the The Navy’s Blue Angels.

Military bands aren’t immune from the cuts, either; travel restrictions have forced them to cancel shows from coast to coast.

But in a twist, we’re going to be seeing the local Air Force band a whole lot more than we normally would.  

Working on local relationships

(Scott Air Force Base)

The U.S. Department of Defense says one of four Air Force members killed in a weekend plane crash in Afghanistan was a pilot who had been stationed at Scott Air Force Base in southwestern Illinois.

The department says 28-year-old Capt. Brandon Cyr of Woodbridge, Va., died in Saturday's crash of an Air Force MC-12 aircraft.

The cause of the crash is under investigation. The Pentagon says there were no reports of enemy activity in the area at the time of the crash.

(via Wikimedia commons/SSGT CHAD R. GANN, USAF)

Thousands of civilian workers at Scott Air Force Base in southern Illinois will soon begin receiving furlough  notices.
The Belleville News Democrat reports workers will be informed that they must take one day per week of unpaid vacation between next month and September because of mandatory federal budget cuts referred to as the "sequester."
The newspaper says the workers will receive the 30-day notices in the mail by the end of the week.

St. Louis Defense Industry Braces For Sequester

Mar 1, 2013
(via Wikimedia commons/SSGT CHAD R. GANN, USAF)

Earlier this week the Obama Admiration released a state-by-state breakdown of the $85 billion in cuts slated to kick in on Friday.

The report details cuts to expenditures ranging from teachers and schools, to air-traffic control, to public health and head start.  Among the line-items slated for the largest cuts is military readiness and defense, or more specifically by civilians working for the Department of Defense. 

Sequester Cuts Threaten Civilian Employees At Scott AFB

Feb 25, 2013
Adam Allington / St. Louis Public Radio

Illinois’ elected officials are warning that looming sequester budget cuts would have significant impacts on Scott Air Force Base.

Located in Mascoutah, IL, in the Metro East, Scott Air Force Base about 13,000 military and civilian personnel, making it one of the largest employers in the St. Louis region.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin says the $85 billion in across-the-board cuts set to kick in on Friday would affect about 4500 civilian employees at Scott and would cause significant harm to the readiness of our military.

(via Wikimedia Commons / SSGTCHADRGANN)

Hundreds of local Air National Guard jobs are on the chopping block as part of the Defense Department’s plan to cut $500 billion over the next decade.

Missouri Congressman Todd Akin, chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, says more than 700 servicemen at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis and Scott Air Force Base near Belleville, Ill. may lose their jobs by the end of the fiscal year.

(Missouri Department of Transportation/Facebook)

Snow makes morning drive difficult

The Missouri Department of Transportation says as the snow continues to blow, the conditions on the roads continue to deteriorate.

Kara Price with MoDOT, says interstates are partly to mostly covered throughout the region and snow bursts are making it difficult for drivers to see.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory in effect until six 'clock this evening.

Missouri Highway Patrol helicopter low on fuel when it crashed last year