NY congresswoman responds to Trump's Missile Defense Review

Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., attends a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.


By ABRAHAM KENMORE | Watertown Daily Times, N.Y. | Published: January 19, 2019

U.S. Rep. Elise M. Stefanik, R-N.Y., remains in support of an East Coast missile defense site at Fort Drum.

Ms. Stefanik responded on Friday to President Donald J. Trump's address Thursday at the Pentagon on missile defense strategy.

The announcement was the first update to the Missile Defense Review in nine years, but the president made no specific comment regarding a proposed East Coast missile defense site that could potentially be based at Fort Drum or at one of two other locations also under consideration.

"I will still advocate for an East Coast missile defense site," Ms. Stefanik said.

She said Fort Drum should still host the site if it is announced. Camp Ravenna Joint Military Training Center in Ohio and Fort Custer Training Center in Michigan are also under consideration.

"Whether it's a shorter-range system or a third missile defense site," Ms. Stefanik said she would support Fort Drum.

Ms. Stefanik said the shorter-range systems would help counter threats from Russia, China and Iran. Her office clarified that Ms. Stefanik was endorsing the recommendations of the Missile Defense Review, which may include a mix of short– and long-range solutions. Given the lack of details on a possible missile defense site at Fort Drum, however, it is impossible to know yet what the capabilities or systems would be.

"An east coast missile defense site, such as what was considered for placement at Fort Drum, would be a ground-based interceptor (GBI) comparable to the missile defense assets already in place in California and Alaska," Ms. Stefanik's legislative team wrote in an email. "This system protects the homeland from intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) from rogue states, such as North Korea or Iran."

In a news release on the missile defense review, Ms. Stefanik once again touted the benefit to the local economy, saying it would bring hundreds of jobs and $200 million in revenue.

The strategy was originally planned for release last year, but was delayed. The missile defense expansion announced by Mr. Trump would make new investments in technology, with a goal of countering strides in nuclear arms and missiles in Iran, North Korea, Russia and China and other potentially hostile states.


The New York Times contributed to this report.

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