At a public meeting last week in the village of Carthage, N.Y., residents learned about the impact establishing a possible East Coast missile defense site at Fort Drum would have on the region.
The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has identified 100 acres on the southeastern corner of the post as one of three candidate locations to host ground-based interceptors designed to protect the United States from ballistic missile attacks. The other two sites are Camp Ravenna Joint Training Center, Ohio, and Fort Custer Training Center, Mich.
The North Country would gain up to 600 construction jobs while the site is built over five years, and the region would gain more than 1,000 new jobs as a result, reported North Country Public Radio.
Building the site would require the closure of a road in a nearby town, more military personnel and civilian workers commuting to Fort Drum would travel through Carthage, officials said.
“Because we are such a robust installation, we are able to easily accommodate the missile site and as well as any additional administrative needs they have,” said Eric Wagenaar, Fort Drum’s deputy garrison commander.
Julie Halperin, the installation’s spokesperson, emphasized that no decision has been made to build an East Coast missile defense site. Ground-based interceptors already are in place at sites in California and Alaska, and the Pentagon does not favor building a third site, which would have an estimated cost of $3 billion or more.
“I think it’s really important in this phase of the game to realize that the Department of Defense is not asking for this. The MDA is not asking for this. They have all been mandated to study this. This is just a study between three different locations to see environmentally which one would be the best location,” Halperin said.
MDA is expected to select a preferred location for the missile defense site by the end of September.