Pursuant to the fiscal 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, the Defense Department has initiated a study to evaluate five candidate sites in the continental United States for the potential future deployment of additional ground-based interceptors, Pentagon officials announced Sept. 12.
Two missile defense sites with long-range interceptor missiles already are active at Fort Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Today, these sites provide protection for the U.S. against limited intercontinental ballistic missile attacks, officials said.
“In response to a congressional requirement, we are evaluating several sites in the continental United States for a potential future deployment of additional Ground-based Interceptors, or GBIs,” said Navy Vice Adm. James D. Syring, the director of the Missile Defense Agency. “While the administration has not made a decision to build another missile defense facility in the U.S. 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.”
Completing the mandatory siting study and the associated follow-on environmental impact statement would decrease the time necessary to build a site if a decision is made to do so, officials said. An environmental impact study would take 18 to 24 months to complete once the siting study is finished, they added.
A small Defense Department team will visit each candidate site to obtain information on basic infrastructure, including the electrical power supply, water resources, transportation access and other areas for assessing the suitability of a potential site.
All of the sites are on federal land and are operated by the Defense Department, the National Guard or both, officials said. They 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.