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Ground broken on new missile defense facility

Officials uses shovels to symbolically break ground as Northrop Grumman begins work on a missile defense development facility in Roy on Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019.
Officials uses shovels to symbolically break ground as Northrop Grumman begins work on a missile defense development facility in Roy on Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019.
Scott G Winterton

ROY — A new commercial development in northern Davis County is expected to bring hundreds of high-paying jobs in the name of national defense.

Northrop Grumman Tuesday broke ground a new facility adjacent to Hill Air Force Base that will serve as the future headquarters for the defense contractor’s local workforce and nationwide team that will support the U. S. Air Force’s Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program — bringing with it 2,500 new jobs to the state of Utah.

“Modernizing the current (intercontinental ballistic missile) system is a national security priority, and we are proud to be here today to reinforce our commitment to the U.S. Air Force on GBSD and our readiness to deliver on this critical mission,” said Kathy Warden, Northrop Grumman chairwoman, CEO and president. “For more than 60 years, Northrop Grumman has supported the Air Force’s ICBM programs, from our nation’s earliest missile systems to today’s sustainment work, much of which is performed here in Utah.”

“We look forward to this facility serving as home to a diverse and talented workforce, dedicated to developing this next-generation capability that will advance the strategic deterrence mission for the U.S.,” she added.

Warden was joined by members of Utah’s congressional delegation, along with state lawmakers and local civic leaders during a ceremony at the future site of the new facility, located on part of a 550-acre parcel owned by the state and developed by Utah-based Woodbury Corp. The site is operated in partnership with the base.

The development provides facilities for contractors that fulfill the needs of military programs conducted at the base, explained Utah Senate President Stuart Adams, R-Layton. The land is managed through the Enhanced Use Lease Management Office at Hill Air Force Base through the Military Installation Development Authority, he said.

Revenue generated through the program is used to pay property taxes and to upgrade aging infrastructure, buildings and facilities on the base, he added.

“It makes Hill (Air Force Base) more viable. It makes Utah more viable and it makes the United States of America more viable, too,” Adams said.

Bolstering the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program at Hill is making the modernization of the nation’s nuclear deterrent a high priority, which will be critical for meeting the national security challenges of the coming decade, said Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah.

“This is a commitment on the part of our government and also Northrup Grumman to lead the effort to replace our old missile systems with new missiles and new systems to make sure that we’re always able to deter the worst actors from doing the worst things,” he added.

Utah has a long history of contributing to the nation’s defense, including playing a key role in supporting ballistic missile programs dating back to the 1950s, said Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah.

“The groundbreaking of this facility marks the start of a brand-new chapter in Utah’s support of the nuclear triad,” he said. “As threatening technologies advance in nations around the world, particularly amongst our would-be adversaries, it is crucial that these programs advance here at home.”

“Northrop Grumman has long played a vital role in providing one of our country’s most important deterrent programs, and in contributing to a thriving economy and a significant source of jobs in northern Utah,” said Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah. “This new office will not only further benefit the state of Utah, but will strengthen the security of our nation as a whole.”

“Utah and Hill Air Force Base play a vital role in the defense of our country,” said Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah. “This project will add thousands of jobs to Utah’s economy while developing crucial national security technology.”

Currently the largest security and defense contractor in the Beehive State, Northrup Grumman employs more than 5,100 people statewide, located mostly in Magna, Clearfield, Ogden, Promontory and Salt Lake City. The new facility is scheduled for completion in the middle of next year.