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Pentagon selects Fort Drum for missile defense site it has no plan to build
WASHINGTON – The Department of Defense would choose Fort Drum in New York as the site of an East Coast missile defense site if it decides to build one in the future, according to a Pentagon official.
But a Defense Department official told Rep. Elise Stefanik in a letter Wednesday "the department has no intent to develop one" because a study earlier this year confirmed there's no military need for a new missile defense site.
Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, has pushed the Pentagon to add a ground-based interceptor site on the East Coast, beefing up the nation's existing defenses against intercontinental ballistic missiles.
A Pentagon review of U.S. missile defense concluded in January that the existing missile defense sites at Fort Greely, Alaska, and at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California were sufficient to defend the nation.
Stefanik, whose district includes Fort Drum, about 80 miles north of Syracuse, disagreed with the decision.
Stefanik, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, included language in a defense authorization bill this month that required the Defense Department to designate an interceptor site for potential development.
The Missile Defense Agency evaluated two potential interceptor sites at Fort Custer, Michigan, one at Camp Garfield, Ohio, and one at Fort Drum as part of a 2016 study.
"At this time, and by a small margin, Fort Drum would be the preferred (interceptor site) in the eastern United States," Michael D. Griffin, undersecretary of defense for research and engineering wrote to Stefanik in a letter she made public Wednesday night.
"Fort Drum provides the best operational coverage but is likely the most expensive option with the most environmental challenges," Griffin wrote.
Griffin did not elaborate on the environmental challenges or provide a cost estimate.
Previous studies concluded it would cost about $3.6 billion to build a new missile interceptor site. The development would create 1,450 jobs and add $220 million per year in economic value to the community that hosts the interceptor base.
Top U.S. generals in charge of missile defense have said the money should be invested to upgrade the existing interceptor sites in Alaska and California.
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Now you can relive the glory days of screaming "fire for effect" before lobbing rounds down range, and you can do it from the comfort of your own backyard, or living room, without having to worry that some random staff sergeant is going to show up and chew you out for your unsat face scruff and Johnny Bravo 'do.
The leader of a Chicago-area street gang has been arrested and charged with attempting to aid the ISIS terrorist group, the Department of Justice said Friday.
Jason Brown, also known as "Abdul Ja'Me," allegedly gave $500 on three separate occasions in 2019 to a confidential informant Brown believed would then wire it to an ISIS fighter engaged in combat in Syria. The purported ISIS fighter was actually an undercover law enforcement officer, according to a DoJ news release.
My brother earned the Medal of Honor for saving countless lives — but only after he was left for dead
"As I learned while researching a book about John, the SEAL ground commander, Cmdr. Tim Szymanski, had stupidly and with great hubris insisted on insertion being that night."
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
Air Force Master Sgt. John "Chappy" Chapman is my brother. As one of an elite group, Air Force Combat Control — the deadliest and most badass band of brothers to walk a battlefield — John gave his life on March 4, 2002 for brothers he never knew.
They were the brave men who comprised a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) that had been called in to rescue the SEAL Team 6 team (Mako-30) with whom he had been embedded, which left him behind on Takur Ghar, a desolate mountain in Afghanistan that topped out at over 10,000 feet.
As I learned while researching a book about John, the SEAL ground commander, Cmdr. Tim Szymanski, had stupidly and with great hubris insisted on insertion being that night. After many delays, the mission should and could have been pushed one day, but Szymanski ordered the team to proceed as planned, and Britt "Slab" Slabinski, John's team leader, fell into step after another SEAL team refused the mission.
But the "plan" went even more south when they made the rookie move to insert directly atop the mountain — right into the hands of the bad guys they knew were there.
Sen. Rick Scott is backing a bipartisan bill that would allow service members to essentially sue the United States government for medical malpractice if they are injured in the care of military doctors.
The measure has already passed the House and it has been introduced in the Senate, where Scott says he will sign on as a co-sponsor.
"As a U.S. Senator and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, taking care of our military members, veterans and their families is my top priority," the Florida Republican said in a statement.