Hanscom AFB to house the nation's new nuclear communications center
BEDFORD >> Hanscom Air Force Base will be home to a new technology program that connects senior military leaders and the country's nuclear forces.
The new department will bring more than 40 positions to the base, and is expected to add another 40 through local contractors. It will also include the creation of a third high-ranking program executive officer at the base.
The program — which will not include any actual nuclear weapons — is another feather in the cap for Hanscom, which has been fighting to remain relevant enough for the military that its operations won't be diminished among budget-related base realignment or closures. Hanscom is located about 17 miles west of Boston.
It includes 6,000 jobs and is said to indirectly create another 10,000.
U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas said Wednesday, in a meeting with reporters and editors of The Sun newsroom of Lowell, she pushed for the nuclear communication center to take place at Hanscom, amid other modern technology uses that have located at the base, such at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratories.
"These bases are not routine bases," she said, describing research-and-development operations that take place there. "We've worked to highlight what it is that these bases do."
Tsongas, who serves on the House Armed Services Committee, often touts Hanscom's importance for the military and for the economy along the Interstate 128 corridor.
"The argument we make is that these operations can't take happen anywhere else. It's a unique ecosystem," she said of the base, with its proximity to technology companies, universities and other assets. "You can't just plunk it down in the center of the country."
The nuclear communications center — formally known as the Nuclear Command, Control and Communications Integration Directorate — was announced in a press release put out by the state last Friday. State officials and members of the state's Washington delegation praised the creation of the center at Hanscom.
"Hanscom Air Force base is ideally suited to assist in managing the recapitulation of our nation's nuclear command, control and communications infrastructure," U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton said in a statement.
Gov. Charlie Baker, the Congressional delegation and others urged the facility to be built at Hanscom when the Air Force secretary, Deborah Lee James, visited the facility last August, according to the news release.
A time line for the opening of the center has not been determined.
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