Washington, D.C. –Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21) recently led a bipartisan letter with her New York colleagues in writing Lt. Gen. Samuel A. Greaves, Director of the Missile Defense Agency, in support of the construction of a third Continental U.S. interceptor site located at Fort Drum in Jefferson County, New York. Joining Rep. Stefanik on this letter were Reps. Chris Collins (R-NY-27), Dan Donovan (R-NY-11), John Faso (R-NY-18), Brian Higgins (D-NY-26), John Katko (R-NY-24), Pete King (R-NY-2) Tom Reed (R-NY-23), and Lee Zeldin (R-NY-1). Click here for a digital copy of the letter; the full text is below.
Lt. Gen. Samuel A. Greaves
Director, Missile Defense Agency
5700 18th Street, Bldg 245
Fort Belvoir, VA 22060-5573
Dear Lt. Gen. Greaves,
In preparation for the release of the Ballistic Missile Defense Review (BMDR) and as members of the New York delegation, we write in full support of the construction of a third Continental U.S. interceptor site located at Fort Drum in Jefferson County, New York. As our adversaries rapidly increase their ballistic missile capabilities and seek to deter and constrain the United States, we believe it is critical that we continue to invest in our country’s missile defense. As the BMDR concludes, we urge MDA to recognize the strategic importance of an East Coast Missile Defense site and the economic advantage of building the site at Fort Drum.
By offering an additional angle of intercept, a third Ground Based Interceptor (GBI) site located on the east coast will improve the accuracy and reliability of our continental United States missile defense systems. Another GBI site would increase the number of sensors available to track an incoming ICBM and allow for the capability to shoot the target, assess the situation, and then shoot again, if necessary. With our current defenses, both located on the west coast, the shoot-assess-shoot capability is not an option.
Additionally, from an economic position, Fort Drum's existing infrastructure and community support system make it an ideal location for construction. Fort Drum's airfield, railroad line on post, and major highway near the installation can cheaply and easily handle transportation and utility needs during and after construction. With an estimated additional 1,450 potential jobs and $220 million per year in total economic value added to the region, this mission will make a positive impact on New York’s North Country. The service members of the 10th Mountain Division and their families stationed at Fort Drum have a strong history of supporting the U.S. military and will easily be able to welcome and integrate these new families into the community.
In conclusion, an East Coast Missile Defense site located at Fort Drum would expand the battlespace, provide greater decision time, protect the entire continental United States, and increase the accuracy and effectiveness of our missile defense strategy.
We look forward to the release of the BMDR and thank you for your leadership on this important issue.