MDA Narrows List for Third Interceptor Site

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has identified five potential sites for a third ground-based interceptor facility, according to a Sept. 12 Pentagon statement.

The sites are: Fort Drum, N.Y.; Camp Ethan Allen Training Site, Vt.; Naval Air Station Portsmouth SERE Training Area, Maine; Camp Ravenna Joint Training Center, Ohio; and Fort Custer Training Center, Mich. All are located in the eastern half of the United States.

“We are evaluating several sites in the continental United States for a potential future deployment of additional ground-based interceptors,” said Navy Vice Adm. James D. Syring, director of the Missile Defense Agency. “While the administration has not made a decision to build another missile defense facility in the United States for homeland defense, if a decision were to be made in the future to construct a new site, completing the required site study and environmental impact statement would shorten the timeline required to build such a site.”

The current U.S. territorial shield features two sites: Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., and Fort Greely, Alaska. U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced in March that the MDA would increase the number of interceptors at Fort Greely and begin looking for a third site in the United States, something Republican lawmakers have been pushing for the past year.

Although Syring has said funding for the third site is not needed next year, the House Armed Services and Appropriations committees have recommended providing $170 million and $70 million, respectively, for that activity in bills for 2014.