As the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency considers where to relocate its western headquarters, elected officials in Missouri and Illinois are lobbying for a location within their states.
The western headquarters is currently located near the Anheuser-Busch Brewery in St. Louis, Missouri. NGA will build a new facility, at a cost of about $1.6 billion, at a new site which NGA will choose next year. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the choice is down to three possible Missouri sites and one in southwest Illinois, near Scott Air Force Base.
"There is a clear strategic advantage to our government — our federal government — and our safety," to moving the site to Illinois, said Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner in a recent radio interview. He said he would meet with the state's congressional leaders, state leaders and members of the Obama administration to make the case.
"It's a compelling case. And we're going to make that case," he said.
Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin also sent a letter to Cardillio advocating the Illinois location, according to the Post-Dispatch.
Meanwhile, Missouri Sens. Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt are trying to keep the agency in Missouri. The sites NGA is considering there are all within the St. Louis metro area: one in north St. Louis, one in Fenton and one in Mehlville.
In a letter to NGA Director Robert Cardillo sent in March, the senators wrote: "The selection of one of the Missouri sites would be in keeping with the long tradition of the NGA and its predecessor organizations residing in the Show-Me state. Missouri is proud to play a central role in proving critical intelligence to our warfighters that help keep our country safe."
Because most of the NGA West employees live in Missouri already, keeping the headquarters in the area would ensure the least disruption for them, Blunt and McCaskill added.