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Letter: Defense favors Ft. Drum over Ft. Custer for Defense site

Posted: 7:01 PM, Jun 27, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-27 19:40:33-04

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Department of Defense says in a letter to lawmakers today it favors Fort Drum, N.Y. by a “small margin” over Fort Custer in Augusta, MI. as a potential site for an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile interceptor – if it ever gets built.

The ground-based missile-defense site would be designed to protect the East Coast of the United States, but there is no urgency to move forward with the project. The Pentagon stated earlier this year that existing sites in Alaska and California are all that are needed for defense purposes.

Two locations at the Fort Custer Training Center near Battle Creek and one at Camp Garfield, Ohio have been considered as potential sites by the Missile Defense Agency.

Michigan U.S. Senator Gary Peters’ office said in a Thursday news release that the Senate Armed Services Committee received a letter from the Department of Defense identifying Fort Drum as the preferred option “by a small margin.” Peters is a member of the Armed Services Committee. The letter also said there is no plan for a new missile-interceptor site to be developed, but the preferred location will be re-evaluated if a third site is necessary in the future.

Said Senator Peters, “Fort Custer is in a strategic location and has strong local, state and federal support. Particularly at a time when our nation continues to face threats from Iran and North Korea, I continue to believe Fort Custer is the ideal location for a potential missile defense site. The Department of Defense has made clear that this decision is not final and that Fort Custer is the least expensive option. I’ll continue pressing for the Environmental Impact Statement to be made public as the next step in evaluating how a potential missile defense site can strengthen national security.”

Some Michigan Congressmembers issued a joint statement Thursday on the Department of Defense letter. It takes a shot at 3rd District Congressman Justin Amash: “It appears that Congressman Amash’s consistent opposition to all defense spending bills over the years was too much for the Pentagon to accept”.

The U.S. Senate passed a national-defense bill Thursday, and Peters supported a provision requiring the department to publish the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to identify potential sites.