Discussions about placing a missile interceptor site at Fort Drum brought varying reactions from U.S. Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, and Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand, D-N.Y.
Reuters reported Wednesday that Republicans on a House subcommittee called for studies on an East Coast-based missile interceptor site, and that Fort Drum was one area under consideration.
According to the text of the proposal, the eastern site would allow the United States to better protect itself from ballistic missiles launched from the Middle East. Already operational sites at Fort Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., have several underground missiles stored that can be fired to stop enemy missile attacks.
Mr. Owens, who sits on the House Armed Services Committee, though not on its Strategic Forces Subcommittee, called discussions about site placement very premature, saying the committee first has to determine whether such a site is necessary.
He said before he would endorse such a proposal, he would want to hear from post officials that it wouldnt interfere with their operations and from community members about their concerns.
Id need to see the study to make sure it makes sense, and that it wouldnt have any impact on our primary concern, which is the 10th Mountain Division, Mr. Owens said.
Sen. Gillibrand, who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, appeared to be more positive about the discussion of the post as a missile interceptor site.
This is an important mission for Fort Drum and for our national security, Sen. Gillibrand said in a released statement Thursday. Fort Drum is one of the nations leading military installations, home to some of the best, brightest and bravest. And thats why were attracting these kinds of missions to track missiles, and keep our nation safe.
The proposal would require the secretary of defense to conduct an environmental impact review of potential sites by Dec. 31, 2013, and the site to be operational by the end of 2015. An initial analysis on feasibility and cost would be due Feb. 1.
The full text of the subcommittees proposals can be found at http://1.usa.gov/Ic8iOO.