Lawmaker wants missile defense site in New York instead of Caribou

By Gordon Block, Watertown Daily Times
Posted May 07, 2013, at 9:53 a.m.

If an East Coast missile defense site is deemed necessary by the Pentagon, U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer wants it in New York, potentially at Fort Drum.

In a letter sent Monday to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, he said the post and the former Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome were “uniquely capable” of such a placement.

Environmental studies to review such a placement, called for in the 2013 National Defense Authorization Bill passed last year, are underway.

The two New York sites are being discussed for the placement, along with a site in Caribou, Maine, and one in New Hampshire.

In a statement issued with the letter, Sen. Schumer said a placement in New York could “create thousands of jobs and significant revenue in local communities.”

Discussions about the placement of missiles have been ongoing for months. Though the Pentagon last year questioned the necessity of an East Coast site, supporters have said it could help defend from attacks from places such as Iran.

One factor helping the post’s odds of a placement is a $25.9 million missile defense data terminal complex approved during the 2013 defense authorization bill. The other locations with the data terminals, Fort Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., already have missiles in place. However, a Missile Defense Agency spokesman said in September that such development did not guarantee the placement of missiles.

In April, U.S. Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, said he supported the placement of missiles at Fort Drum were they deemed necessary.

At a breakfast briefing Monday for the Northern New York-Fort Drum chapter of the Association of the United States Army, Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization Executive Director Carl A. McLaughlin called a potential missile placement at the post a “game changer” in the face of overall Army soldier reductions.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/05/07/news/aroostook/lawmaker-wants-missile-defense-site-in-new-york-instead-of-caribou/ printed on July 31, 2014