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Mansfield Could be Home to Air National Guard's New Cyber Wing

 ONG Major Gen John Harris at Mid Ohio Foodbank decomissioning ceremony, July 2, 2021
Karen Kasler
Statehouse News Bureau
ONG Major Gen John Harris at Mid Ohio Foodbank decomissioning ceremony, July 2, 2021

Ohio could be on the frontlines in protecting national data infrastructure from cybercriminals. The Air National Guard is looking to launch a cyber wing and an Ohio location is one of two being considered.

Ohio National Guard Major General John Harris says officials are assessing the viability of the Guard's base in Mansfield as the location for the Air National Guard’s first cyberspace wing.

“It is a huge deal because, number one, it will be one of the first of its kind in the Air National Guard inventory, and secondly, that’s really where the emerging challenges are going to be for us as a nation in the future," Harris says.

Harris says the decision has come down to Mansfield or another location in Minnesota. He thinks Ohio is the best choice because there are already various partnerships between federal and state entities, cyber ranges at Cincinnati and Akron, research and development capabilities at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, and a wing that's already doing some cyber intelligence in Springfield.

Harris says he expects the decision will be made in the winter or early spring next year.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment. Jo started her career in Louisville, Kentucky in the mid 80’s when she helped produce a televised presidential debate for ABC News, worked for a creative services company and served as a general assignment report for a commercial radio station. In 1989, she returned back to her native Ohio to work at the WOSU Stations in Columbus where she began a long resume in public radio.