OKLAHOMA CITY –
Leaders from the Oklahoma National Guard, State of Oklahoma and the Chandler community broke ground on a new joint operations center for the Oklahoma National Guard in Chandler, Oklahoma, today.
The nearly 6,400 square foot joint operations center will be utilized by the Oklahoma National Guard during times of natural and manmade disasters, as well as provide a space that will allow Guardsmen and other state and federal agencies to partner together for any necessary domestic responses.
Governor Kevin Stitt said he was extremely proud of Oklahoma Guard members and the work they did during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the pandemic showed the need for an improved joint operations center.
“During COVID, the National Guard stepped up to the plate,” Stitt said. “It was the most complex mission the National Guard has ever done, and they did an amazing job of providing information and being transparent with the public but also taking care of Oklahomans during that trying time. The joint operations center in Oklahoma City didn’t meet our needs and we’re really excited to have this facility built.”
Oklahoma State Representative Kevin Wallace, who represents the Chandler area and is the chairman of the Oklahoma House of Representatives Appropriations and Budget Committee, said the people of Chandler are excited to have their community selected as the location for the new joint operations center, which is being funded through the American Rescue Plan.
“What an honor it is to have this new operations center here in Chandler,” Wallace said. “Our community does honor this place the National Guard will have to control state emergencies and be used as a command headquarters in critical times. The construction of the joint operations center will be paid for through the American Rescue Plan funds and it’s a perfect match for those dollars.”
Maj. Gen. Thomas Mancino, the adjutant general for Oklahoma, said the $8 million facility will be key to the future of how the Oklahoma National Guard will respond to emergencies, thanks in part to it being located almost equal distance between Oklahoma’s two major population centers.
“Like the governor said no one thought COVID-19 would hit, and when it did it was a statewide response,” Mancino said. “Since then, we’ve come a long way in Oklahoma, and I think we’re well positioned for any future issues we may face, and this operations center is going to be a key component of that.”