A group of Ohio Legislators in an open letter Thursday called on Acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan to select Ohio as the location for a new missile defense site and complex.
The Continental United States Interceptor Site (CIS) is the only ground-based segment of the total U.S. defense system. It is currently run by the Department of Defense; Missile Defense Agency and is a major component of the “Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD)” segment, which is part of the overall Ballistic Missile Defense System. This system is responsible for protecting the nation from missile attacks, potentially launched by countries like “Iran and North Korea.”
The overall missile defense system of the United States consists of three major segments: the Boost Defense Segment (BDS), the Midcourse Defense Segment (MDS), and the Terminal Defense Segment (TDS). Each focuses on different phases of a potential missile attack on the continent. BDS focuses on the detection and interception of a missile at the earliest possible moments, long before it reaches the apex of its launch trajectory. MDS focuses on the interception of a missile at the midpoint of its trajectory. TDS is last line defense for stopping a missile attack; when the missile is past the midpoint of its trajectory.
H.R.4310, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, signed into law on Jan. 2, 2013, required the Department of Defense to select a new interceptor site within the continental United States should they find it necessary. This site would be selected within 60 days of publishing a “Ballistic Missile Defense Review.” That review was completed on January 17th, 2019 and calls for an initial deployment of “20 Ground-based Interceptors (GBIs) with the ability to expand upward to 60 GBIs. The GBIs would not be fired from their deployment site except in the country’s defense and no test firing would be conducted at the CIS.”
The Center for Security Forces Detachment Kittery Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape Facility (SERE East) in Redington Township, Maine was the initial front-runner for this new site. However, after an Environment Impact Study was completed, it was decided that the site should be located elsewhere. The Fort Custer Training Center in Michigan, the Camp Ravenna Joint Military Training Center in Ohio (a component of Camp James A. Garfield), and Fort Drum in New York are the three new potential sites and are all competing for the new site.
This site would require, as noted by Global Security:
GBI fields, Command Launch Equipment, In-Flight Interceptor Communication System Data Terminals, GMD Communication Network, supporting facilities, such as lodging and dining, recreation, warehouse and bulk storage, vehicle storage and maintenance, fire station, hazardous materials/waste storage, and roads and parking where necessary.
The construction, ongoing maintenance, new jobs, and economic surge all made the site very attractive to legislators.
U.S. Representative Anthony Gonzalez (R-Rocky River) of Ohio authored the letter to Acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan today with the support of Ohio Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Howland). Rep. Gonzalez stated:
“There is no region in the country that is better positioned to accommodate this site and keep our nation safe than Northeast Ohio…We have the infrastructure, the workforce, and the military experience to support this critical missile defense system, and it would bring a much-needed boost to our economy and our job market.
According to the letter, the site is expected to bring in an estimated “2,300 jobs and over $224 million in economic value.”
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Andrew Shirley is a reporter at Battleground State News and The Ohio Star. Send tips to [email protected].