Project Keystone’s still off, but Buckley AFB’s busy nonetheless
Thursday, April 8, 2010, 2:20pm MDT
The on-again, off-again Project Keystone isn’t exactly on again at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora.
But something is, and it should have similar economic benefit to the area.
U.S. intelligence agencies still seek to build permanent offices at Buckley for hundreds of people working on the secretive aerospace base.
White House budget director Peter Orszag recently wrote to U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, the Democrat who represents Buckley’s part of Aurora, to say the construction is still planned at the base despite the December cancellation of Project Keystone.
The White House budget proposal for 2011 seeks money to build in 2012, said Orszag, writing on behalf of Adm. Dennis Blair, the Director of National Intelligence.
“The project will provide permanent office space for the more than 500 [intelligence community] personnel currently housed in modular trailers on the base,” Orszag wrote.
He was responding to queries by Perlmutter expressing concern over the cancellation of Project Keystone. It was some kind of spy-technology project led by the National Reconnaissance Office, which oversees satellite and other technology shared by civilian and defense spy agencies.
Project Keystone was shrouded in mystery, as are most things that happen at the base.
National intelligence leaders changed priorities for the project — apparently removing the NRO as lead agency and dropping the Keystone name — but kept the funding and the commitment to do it, whatever “it” is, in Aurora.
“It’s not exactly Keystone ... but it’s similar, and it’s happening,” said Leslie Oliver, press secretary for Perlmutter.
And that makes Perlmutter happy. The congressman pushed to keep Keystone at Buckley.
“Aurora is the ideal location of this facility and the jobs involved in the construction and operations in this building are much needed,” Perlmutter said in a letter to Orszag and Blair on Dec. 11.
Those kind of jobs have been a steady part of the east metro area economy.
Buckley has transformed since 2001 from a National Guard base into an active-duty military base that’s a major U.S. intelligence hubs. The change has made it one of the fastest-growing military bases, too.
The government has been expanding the base from 2.5 million square feet of office to 4.8 million over the past five years
The main tenant at Buckley is the Aerospace Data Facility, which is the nation’s major domestic down-link site for spy satellites for the military, NRO and the National Security Agency.firstname.lastname@example.org