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Delegation Pressures Air Force to Stay in Virginia

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine joined Senator Mark R. Warner and Representative Jim Moran in a letter to the Air Force Materiel Commander, General Janet C. Wolfenbarger questioning the Air Force’s plans to relocate the Office of Scientific Research from its current site in Arlington to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.

A copy of the letter is available below.

The Office of Scientific Research employs 170 in the heart of Northern Virginia’s technology corridor in Arlington, home to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Office of Naval Research, and the National Science Foundation.

“With the region’s many universities and research institutes, as well as a growing community of science and technology professionals, Northern Virginia has proven to be a prime location for the Air Force Office of Scientific Research,” said Sen. Kaine. “Ending this partnership would be a huge loss for the Air Force and I hope they make the right decision to stay in Northern Virginia.”

“Northern Virginia offers a unique and valuable ‘critical mass’ of military resources, technology infrastructure, world class universities and cutting-edge talent,” Sen. Mark R. Warner said. “We strongly urge the Air Force to reconsider these compelling benefits before moving the Office of Scientific Research to Ohio.”  

“The Air Force can’t replicate the dynamic synergy of Northern Virginia’s technology hub in Ohio,” said Rep. Moran.  “Any initial savings from this move would be dwarfed by the long term costs of lost research and innovation.  The Office of Scientific Research and its employees, who are likely reluctant to leave one of the best places to live and work, should remain in Northern Virginia.” 

January 28, 2014 

Gen Janet C. Wolfenbarger
Commander, Air Force Materiel Command
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH 45433

Dear Gen Wolfenbarger:

We write to you today to express our concern over the possibility of a relocation of the Air Force Office of Scientific Research from its current site in Arlington to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. 

As you know, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) has a long and proud tradition of basic research in collaboration with the world’s leading academic institutions. AFOSR has invested in wide-ranging academic efforts, from radiochemistry and superconductivity in the 1950s to environmental technologies and advancements in the treatment of battlefield injuries in the present day. This organization has funded everything from spacecraft to lasers to flat screen television sets, all in collaboration with academia. Critical to this partnership has been its proximity to the vibrant research community in Arlington and neighboring communities.

The growing research presence in Arlington boasts academic institutions such as Virginia Tech and George Washington University, as well as government agencies such as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Office of Naval Research, and the National Science Foundation. Finally, Northern Virginia and neighboring Maryland are home to some of the world’s leading defense companies. Together these institutions provide fertile ground for the cultivation of collaborative research, the benefits of which AFOSR has been reaping for decades. We believe the research synergies achieved here cannot be replicated at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. We fear the impact that such a move would have on current and future research efforts, not just for the Air Force but for the wider academic and defense communities.

We understand the Air Force’s impulse to seek potential savings by consolidating some of its facilities within the fold of the Air Force Research Laboratory.  Such efforts are commendable in the current fiscal environment, with declining defense budgets. However, given the undeniable benefits of maintaining its location in what has become a global hub of science and technology, we ask that the Air Force promptly provide any information regarding current plans to relocate AFOSR to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, to include the projected timeline and costs associated with such a move, expected savings, and the anticipated impact on the current AFOSR workforce.

Thank you for your consideration of this request. We look forward to hearing from the Air Force on this matter.


Tim Kaine
United States Senator

Mark R. Warner
United States Senator

James P. Moran
Member of Congress