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State’s national defense role to be reviewed

Augustine

– The commander of Fort Wayne’s Air National Guard base is among 16 state military leaders who will meet today in Indianapolis for a roundtable discussion with three elected officials.

The gathering was organized by Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind. His office said Tuesday that the discussion “will focus on Indiana’s current and future role in America’s national defense.”

Tara DiJulio, communications director for Coats, said in an email that topics are expected to include “how fiscal challenges are driving decision-making and what we can do to grow or strengthen Indiana’s military presence.”

The group will include Col. David Augustine, commander of the 122nd Fighter Wing in Fort Wayne; Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger, the adjutant general of Indiana, and his top assistants; and Brig. Gen. John McGoff, chief of staff for the Indiana Air National Guard.

Also participating will be the commanding officers of 10 other military installations, including those in charge of the Grissom Air Reserve refueling base southwest of Peru, the Camp Atterbury training base northwest of Columbus and the Crane weapons and ammunition facilities southwest of Bloomington.

Coats’ office said he, Rep. Susan Brooks, R-5th, and Lt. Gov. Sue Ellsperman will take part in the discussion at the National Guard Armory in the Lawrence area of Indianapolis.

The discussion will be closed to the media, but participants will be available for questions after the meeting.

This is the first time in the past decade that all of the state’s military commanders will have met with members of Indiana’s congressional delegation, Coats’ office said.

bfrancisco@jg.net

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