The effort made to bring a ballistic missile defense site to the Camp Ravenna Joint Military Training Center is impressive. Hopefully those making such a strong push for Camp Ravenna don't lose sight of what's happening at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station in Vienna.
Camp Ravenna straddles the Trumbull-Portage border. In recent years, substantial investment has been made there to turn it into an active training site for multiple military branches. That was timed to correspond with the U.S. Defense Department's desire to conduct more joint training.
Late last year Camp Ravenna, the old Ravenna arsenal, received word that it is in line to receive another $5.2 million to extend a sewer line at the facility. The money was tentatively secured as part of the Fiscal Year 2014 government spending bill.
But the most exciting announcement came in September when the U.S. Missile Defense Agency named it as one of five sites considered for an interceptor base that would be designed to shoot down ballistic missiles in mid-flight, providing protection to the East Coast.
That prompted U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, to take a lead role in marketing Camp Ravenna. That included a Tribune Chronicle op-ed published in October that touted Trumbull County's assets and the need to protect the nation from attacks. The political veteran from Cincinnati also visited the site last fall.
Additional support has come from U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Howland, and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.
Then came last week's announcement that Camp Ravenna made the top four, which will receive environmental assessments. The formal environmental impact statement will be conducted to identify a preferred location. The study should take about two years.
Other sites selected are Fort Custer in Michigan, Fort Drum in New York and Portsmouth SERE Training Area in Maine.
''It is encouraging that Camp Ravenna is currently being considered for future Department of Defense missions,'' Brown said. ''Designating Camp Ravenna as a missile defense site would create local jobs and strengthen the regional economy.''
Ryan said, ''I am delighted that Camp Ravenna is a possible site to host a missile defense site. Camp Ravenna has played a major role in our country's military history, and I believe it will continue to play a significant role in the country's defense - while providing jobs for our military and civilian work force.''
Portman, Ryan, Brown and the entire community should not lose focus on the air station, though. The Vienna facility contributes more than $100 million per year to the local economy, but has been hit hard recently with the transfer of some of its cargo plans and the loss of employees.
With another federal Base Realignment and Closure, or BRAC, process likely, a shrinking air station weakens the Vienna site.