The U.S. Air Force has chosen the 179th Airlift Wing at Mansfield-Lahm Airport to be the home of the Air National Guard’s Information Cyber Warfare Wing.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine praised the U.S. Air Force’s decision, saying the Air National Guards’ first cyberspace wing will create new opportunities for in-demand jobs and strengthen Ohio’s leading role in advancing cybersecurity.
“I spoke directly with the Secretary of the Air Force today, who gave me this outstanding news,” said Governor DeWine after the announcement. “Ohio is gaining a leading-edge mission that will strengthen the fabric of the military community and further solidify Ohio as a national leader in cybersecurity excellence. Not only will this new mission bring more jobs into the community, but it will also spur more economic growth and create new opportunities for industry and academic growth. This is a tremendous win for Mansfield and the entire state.”
This new mission for the Ohio Air National Guard will position Ohio in the middle of the military’s cutting-edge cyber capability and the fight against emerging cyber threats. Infrastructure and capital improvement projects could exceed $50M and begin as early as next year.
“The U.S. Air National Guard cyber warfare wing in Mansfield will advance our country’s 21st Century warfare capability while attracting new in-demand cybersecurity positions and talent to Ohio,” said JobsOhio President & CEO J.P. Nauseef. “This new mission amplifies Ohio’s leading position as America’s most military-friendly state that can also advance our nation’s military’s fight against emerging cyber threats. Ohio is all in!”
Community involvement was critical to attracting the mission as well as collaboration between Governor DeWine’s senior advisor for aerospace and defense, retired Air force Colonel Joseph E. Zeis Jr., Ohio’s federal delegation, Richland Area Chamber & Economic Development, the Mansfield Military Affairs Committee, the JobsOhio military and federal sector team led by Elaine Bryant, and Team NEO.
“JobsOhio’s military and federal sector focus represents a significant opportunity for economic growth in our region,” said Bill Koehler, CEO of Team NEO. “Today’s decision demonstrates the Northeast Ohio region’s competitiveness across multiple sectors, including aerospace and information technology. I applaud Richland County and the many partners involved in this success.”
The DeWine-Husted Administration has made the sustainment and growth of Ohio’s military bases and their missions a priority for Ohio. In 2019, DeWine named retired Air force Colonel Joseph E. Zeis Jr. to serve as the first Senior Advisor for Aerospace and Defense, a new, cabinet-level position. That same year, JobsOhio announced the establishment of military and federal as a new industry sector. Community collaboration was essential for attracting the mission, working with the federal delegation and community leaders in Mansfield.
The 179th Airlift Wing has a long and distinguished history including the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award; the Alan P. Tappan Memorial Trophy, which designates the outstanding Air National Guard unit in the state of Ohio; and the Rusty Metcalf Award, which acknowledges the unit as one of the best in the entire Air Force.
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