Alaskan Missile Field to be Completed

One missile interceptor field at Fort Greely, Alaska, is expected to receive its full complement of silos even as another is shuttered, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Wednesday (see GSN, May 22).

The Obama administration intends to deploy 26 missile interceptors at Fort Greely A Bush-era plan had the fort hosting a maximum of 40 Ground-based Midcourse Defense interceptors situated in three missile fields (see GSN, July 21). Another four weapons are set to be fielded at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The Defense Department had announced its intentions to curtail growth at Missile Field 2. Now, however, 14 silos will be built at the site as originally anticipated, according to Alaska Senator Mark Begich (D).

The apparent reversal "is a welcome decision that will decrease the risk of the ever-evolving ballistic missile threats from rogue nations by increasing capacity required to defend the United States," Begich said in a press release.

However, fellow Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski (R) said the overall plan for Fort Greely does not provide as much protection against missile attacks as the Bush administration initiative.

"While the administration plans to complete work on Missile Field 2, it also plans to decommission Missile Field 1," Murkowski said in a statement to the Alaskan newspaper. "I remain unconvinced that abandonment of the Bush administration's plan, previously supported by [Defense Secretary Robert] Gates, is the right thing to do from a national security perspective."

Gates has said the revised missile shield plan is sufficient to protect the United States from long-range missile attacks. He said in a June visit to the fort that additional interceptors could be deployed as necessary (Chris Freiberg, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Oct. 28).

October 30, 2009
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One missile interceptor field at Fort Greely, Alaska, is expected to receive its full complement of silos even as another is shuttered, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Wednesday (see GSN, May 22).