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Pentagon Unveils Five Candidates for Potential U.S. Missile Defense Site

The Defense Department on Thursday announced the names of five military bases that are under consideration to host a potential new U.S. missile interceptor site, according to the Pentagon's American Forces Press Service.

The facilities selected for the congressionally required siting study are: Fort Drum in New York, Camp Ethan Allen Training Site in Vermont, Naval Air Station Portsmouth SERE Training Area in Maine, Camp Ravenna Joint Training Center in Ohio and Fort Custer Training Center in Michigan.

Congress in fiscal 2013 passed a law that requires the Pentagon to study possibilities for establishing a third interceptor site for homeland defense against possible ICBM attacks by North Korea and Iran. Legislators approved $100 million for the site review, but no decision has been made on whether to proceed with building a new interceptor site.

There are presently 30 long-range interceptors deployed at two interceptor sites at Fort Greely in Alaska and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

"While the administration has not made a decision to build another missile defense facility in the U.S. for homeland defense, if a decision were to be made in the future to construct a new site, completing the required site study and environmental impact statement would shorten the timeline required to build such a site," Missile Defense Agency head Vice Adm. James Syring said in provided comments.

A small Pentagon delegation will travel to each of the five sites to gather information on such infrastructure considerations as electricity and water supplies and access to transportation.

After the siting study is completed, the selection process will be narrowed down to three bases that will have official environmental-impact statements completed on them in order to determine the best possible location for the potential interceptor site, VTDigger.org reported. EIA studies typically take 18-24 months to complete.

Soem Vermont leaders, for their part, are unhappy that Camp Ethan Allen is in the running to host the possible interceptor site.

"I've always felt that the multiple billions spent on missile defense are a monumental waste of money, on technologically challenged systems, and I am empathetically against putting one of these sites in Vermont," Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said to journalists.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Representative Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin have also come out in opposition to interceptors being placed in Vermont.

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