Council for a Livable World Response to Site Selection Study for East Coast Missile Defense Study

Washington DC – September 12, 2013 – News Release – Today, the Missile Defense Agency released a list of five candidate sites that are being considered, as required by the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, for a potential third homeland missile defense site.

The sites that are being studied include Camp Ravenna Joint Military Training Center (OH), Camp Ethan Allen Training Site (VT), NAS Portsmouth SERE Training Area (ME), Fort Custer CTC (MI) and Fort Drum (NY). In the coming months, the Missile Defense Agency will conduct further analysis on these sites to develop a list of sites suitable for environmental studies.

“The United States should not rush to deploy a missile defense site on the East Coast until a need for such a site is identified and the interceptors to be deployed at the site prove effective and suitable in operationally realistic tests,� said John Isaacs, Executive Director of the Council for a Livable World.

There have been no successful intercept tests for the past five years of the system that might be deployed on the East Coast. Since early December 2002, a little over ten years, ten flight intercept tests of the ground based midcourse defense system have been attempted. The record is six failures, three successes, and one unsuccessful test because the target failed to launch properly.

In a June 10 letter to Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI), Vice Admiral James Syring, Director of the Missile Defense Agency, and Lt. Gen. Richard Formica, Commander, Joint Functional Command for Integrated Missile Defense, unequivocally stated:

“There is no validated military requirement to deploy an East Coast missile defense site.�

“The Missile Defense Agency release today reiterates that no decision has been made to deploy a third homeland missile defense site,� said Kingston Reif, Director of Nuclear Non-Proliferation at the Council for a Livable World.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, expanding the ground-based midcourse defense system to the East Coast would cost approximately $3.5 billion over the next five years. In their letter to Sen. Levin, Admiral Syring and General Formica stated that there currently are more cost effective and less expensive alternatives to improve the defense of the U.S. homeland than an East Coast site. These alternatives including improving the sensor and discrimination capabilities of the ground-based midcourse defense system.

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Council for a Livable World is a non-partisan advocacy organization dedicated to increasing national security, particularly through reducing of the danger of nuclear weapons proliferation. The Council advocates for a strong and sensible national security policy and helps elect congressional candidates supporting those ideals.