Pentagon to consider Franklin County for potential missile interceptor site

By Donna M. Perry, Sun Journal
Posted Sept. 13, 2013, at 6:15 a.m.

REDINGTON TOWNSHIP, Maine — The U.S. Navy’s remote training school in the Rangeley Lakes area is one of five sites on the East Coast that the Missile Defense Agency is considering as a potential missile-interceptor site, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins announced Thursday.

The Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape site in northern Franklin County will be studied to determine its suitability for potential interceptor deployment, according to a letter sent to Collins from Vice Adm. James D. Syring, director of the Missile Defense Agency. Collins, R-Maine, is a senior member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.

The Pentagon also will study Camp Ravenna Joint Military Training Center in Ohio, Camp Ethan Allen Training Site in Vermont, Fort Custer Training Center in Michigan and Fort Drum in New York.

The Defense Department has initiated a study to evaluate the five sites in the continental United States for the potential future deployment of additional ground-based interceptors, according to the Pentagon.

Two missile-defense sites with long-range interceptor missiles already are active at Fort Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. These sites provide protection for the United States against limited intercontinental ballistic missile attacks, according to the Pentagon.

“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,” Syring said in a prepared statement.

He added, “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.”

An environmental impact study would take 18 to 24 months to complete once the site study is finished, according to the release.

A small Defense Department team will visit each 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.

The former Loring Air Force Base in Aroostook County had been considered a potential site, Collins said.

“I know that it will come as a great disappointment to the people of central Aroostook County that the MDA has decided that Limestone will not be included as one of five sites it will continue to evaluate for a potential East Coast interceptor site,” Collins said in a statement. “The Limestone site received significant support from the Loring Development Authority and the local community.”

Collins said she was told by Syring that additional radar is an equally important component for missile defense, and Limestone might be a good location for such a radar site. If a radar site was funded in the future, she said, she would urge that Limestone be strongly considered because of its strategically important location.

In the meantime, she is looking forward to connecting the Missile Defense Agency with the residents of Franklin County, she said.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/09/13/news/lewiston-auburn/pentagon-to-consider-franklin-county-site-as-potential-missile-interceptor-site/ printed on July 23, 2014