Washington, D.C. - In case you missed it, the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee held a hearing to receive testimony on the FY25 Strategic Forces Posture. Congresswoman Elise Stefanik questioned Commander of NORTHCOM General Guillot on the strategic need for a third homeland missile defense site at the Department of Defense’s chosen East Coast location of Fort Drum, New York. 

Stefanik also asked about the role of the New York Air National Guard’s 109th Airlift Wing in competing with our adversaries in the Arctic.


Watch her full line of questioning here. 

Read a full transcript of her line of questioning below:

Congresswoman Stefanik:General Guillot, as ballistic missile threats from North Korea and Iran continue to advance, do you believe that it would be strategically worthwhile to construct a third homeland missile defense site at the DoD and Congress’s chosen East Coast location at Fort Drum, New York?”

General Guillot: “Congresswoman, I’m aware that there was a recent assessment that said that such a site was not an operational necessity. However as an operational commander that watches very closely the advances that our adversaries are making, primarily Iran and even more so North Korea, I think that it’s important for me, as the commander, to have continually assessed the threat and see if there are any changes in the threat environment that would necessitate additional capabilities to affect the homeland.”

Congresswoman Stefanik: General, in my office when you were kind enough to visit, you said it would be strategically worthwhile and you supported the construction. I understand the assessment process, but as you and I spoke in my office you said that this would be strategically worthwhile particularly as we’re considering threats not just of today but of the future as well.” 

General Guillot: “Yes, Congresswoman, if the assessment came back that those threats - I thought it would be worthwhile to build that site, a site.”

Congresswoman Stefanik:What would an operational requirement for a third homeland missile defense site look like?”

General Guillot:Congresswoman, that would depend on the threat, but I think dispersal away from the sites that we have now so that we don’t have all of our proverbial eggs in one basket would be very important. And the other would be to make sure that it is located somewhere in the continental United States where it would have the kinematic responsiveness to intercept threats that are coming from a different avenue.” 

Congresswoman Stefanik:And Fort Drum meets those requirements… That’s the DoD’s position, that's Congress’s position that Fort Drum is in fact the location of a potential East Coast missile defense site. You are aware of that.” 

General Guillot:I am aware of that, yes ma’am.”

Congresswoman Stefanik:And it meets those requirements.”

General Guillot:It does. I think I’m answering a different question. With future capabilities that we may have, I think we would have to assess that, but based on the previous, yes, I know that Fort Drum was the primary location.”  

Congresswoman Stefanik:Great. And you understand if and when Congress establishes a requirement for a third homeland missile defense site on the East Coast, you understand that it’s the DoD’s responsibility to execute that requirement?” 

General Guillot:I would be the strongest advocate to execute that requirement if the threat required it. Yes, ma’am.”

Congresswoman Stefanik:And then shifting gears here, Upstate New York, in addition to being home to Fort Drum in my district, we also are home to another key Arctic unit: the New York Air National Guard’s 109th Airlift Wing. The 109th Airlift Wing operates the LC-130Hs or known as the ‘Ski Birds.’ These planes, as you know, are the only platform in the world that can provide critical logistical support in and around the Arctic, yet they are at the very end of their operational capability. Do you believe that the LC-130s have enabled the U.S. to maintain a strategic presence and lead in the Arctic?”

General Guillot:Congresswoman, yes, without a doubt, and in fact just this past week they were in our AOR up at Arctic Edge and Ice Camp Operation performing that unique capability.” 

Congresswoman Stefanik:We believe, and this is a bipartisan issue for members of the New York delegation, I just authored a letter with my colleague Paul Tonko, so bipartisan support, about the urgent need for their recapitalization, so I would refer you to that, we’ll make sure your office has a copy of that, but that’s very important to maintain our leadership, strategically, in the Arctic region.”