Don’t Count East Coast Missile Defense Jobs Before They Are Hatched

Washington DC – May 7, 2012 – News Release – Yesterday, New York Senator Chuck Schumer started a mini-gold rush for big Pentagon dollars that might follow an East Coast missile defense interceptor site in his state.

As any good legislator, Sen. Schumer promoted his state as the place for federal dollars. However, anyone dreaming of new jobs in upstate New York is dreaming far into the future.

“Developing a workable missile defense system for new East Coast site is a long way off and would cost billions before one shovel breaks ground in New York,� said John Isaacs, executive director of the Council for a Livable World.

To date, the Missile Defense Agency has only launched a study investigating which potential sites to fully investigate through the Environmental Impact Statement process. Basically, MDA is conducting a study on what to study. A decision on which sites to study will not likely be released until the end of 2013 and the Environmental Impact Statement process will likely last until early 2016, if not longer.

In the meantime, the Pentagon has budgeted zero dollars of the multi-billion costs for a new site and new technological developments to address the effectiveness concerns of the interceptors currently deployed in Alaska and California.

“This just isn’t a program in which the Pentagon is investing in at the moment,� said Kingston Reif, director of non-proliferation programs at Council for a Livable World. “We cannot simply move a broken system from the West Coast to the East Coast.�

Sen. Schumer’s statement was not blatant pork hunting. He did advocate for smart usage of taxpayer dollars by only offering his support “should military experts determine that a new system on the East Coast is necessary, workable and cost-effective.�

“Those are three big caveats,� said Isaacs. “The two official studies by the National Academy of Sciences and Defense Science Board have been very critical of the system’s ability to protect the U.S. or be cost-effective.�

The National Academy of Sciences study clearly states that the current system would continue to fail on the East Coast without a new, faster booster rocket and specifically more advanced discrimination systems to outsmart countermeasures. The process of developing these system advancements is expensive and long.

“In these times of fiscal austerity, we need to be investing in a national security strategy that addresses 21st century threats including cyber-security, drones and anti-terrorism programs,� said Isaacs. “Investment in an East Coast missile defense site that meets Sen. Schumer’s caveats is years and billions of dollars away; it’s not a pot of Pentagon gold ripe for the plucking.�

The Council for a Livable World is a non-partisan advocacy organization that has been involved in supporting several New York candidates for Congressional office including Senator Schumer.

###

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. The Council advocates for a strong and sensible national security policy and helps elect congressional candidates supporting those ideals.