Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, secured a public commitment from Vice Admiral Jon Hill, the Director of the Missile Defense Agency, to develop a third missile defense site on the East Coast at Fort Drum during her questioning at today’s Strategic Forces Subcommittee Hearing.

As the chief advocate in Congress for Fort Drum and 10th Mountain Division, Stefanik secured Fort Drum’s designation as the preferred East Coast Missile Defense site in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019. She has continued to advocate to maintain this designation and build additional support each annual NDAA, including requiring a report for a plan on how Fort Drum will be leveraged for this future site in FY22 and FY23 NDAAs to continue moving it forward.

Last month, Stefanik’s questioning secured General Milley’s statement of support that it is “strategically worthwhile” to host a third missile defense site at Fort Drum.

Watch her full remarks here.

Highlights from her questioning include:

Stefanik asked, “Vice Admiral Hill, as you know, both the NDAA and the Department of Defense have publicly designated Fort Drum as the site selected for the potential East Coast Missile Defense location and, recently, in this hearing room, Chairman Milley responded to my question stating his support for a third missile defense site specifically focused on the East Coast at Fort Drum. What is your best military assessment regarding the national security and missile defense need to face 21st Century threats and, specifically, how is Fort Drum well-positioned to meet those?”

Hill expressed his support for this location by saying, “When it comes to defense, geography is very meaningful and our ability to expand the battle space for something like a next generation interceptor, that is exactly what that location does and what it does provide.”

He reiterated the need for a third site by saying, “We often talk about shoot, assess, and sheet – that means getting a shot in early, so if you’re geographically dispersed and you have a third site, you have an ability to engage early and engage again after you’ve assessed whether or not you’ve hit the first time.”

“There is a compelling need there that we can continue to watch as the threat increases…The more defenses you have the better. It’s a key part of deterrence,” Hill concluded.

“You would support Chairman Milley’s assessment?” Stefanik followed up.

“Yes ma’am,” Hill answered.

Stefanik the asked about next steps that need to be taken.

Hill listed site selection, more in-depth research to determine how hard it would be to build at the site, and finally, more details, such as how many silos, timelines, and decisions on the NGI production line.

“The FY23 NDAA required an MDA to report to Congress an update on an additional missile defense interceptor site, specifically at Fort Drum, as well as a funding profile for that site. You recently wrote a letter to Chairman Rogers, dated March 24, indicating that the report is now late, but you are going to meet a deadline of June 30th. Can I get your commitment that you will meet that deadline of submission before June 30th?" Stefanik asked.

“Absolutely, ma’am. We have heat and light on that report. We know what you are asking for. Those are reasonable requests, and we’ll get those to you on time, “ Hill answered.

“I have led this effort, as the representative from Fort Drum for many years, and because of the bipartisan work on this committee, as well as our work with MDA and DoD broadly. We are continuing to move this project forward. We know how important it is for national security, our military, and our missile defense,” Stefanik concluded.