Earlier this year, the Defense Department announced in its 2010 fiscal year budget request, Secretary Gates’ decision to eliminate one-third of the number of Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) interceptors from 44 to 30 and to terminate construction of a partially complete missile field at Fort Greely. The Department of Defense announced Secretary Gates’ reversal and decision to proceed on Friday, November 6.
“I commend Secretary Gates for understanding the necessity of the Fort Greely site,” said Turner, Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces. “Completing the Fort Greely missile field will provide the defense shield necessary to guard against an attack from any rouge governments such as North Korea or Iran.”
Secretary Gates’ decision follows numerous efforts by Rep. Turner and other Republican members of the House Armed Services Committee including Ranking Member Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.-36) emphasizing the importance of the Fort Greely site as the only missile defense system capable of protecting the United States from long-range ballistic missile threats.
In June, Rep. Turner offered an amendment to the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to restore funding missile defense systems. His amendment would have required the completion of Fort Greely’s Missile Field No. 2, but was defeated along party lines. In addition, Rep. Turner supported efforts to shore up missile defense funding as the House debated passage of the NDAA.
Secretary Gates' reversal of his original decision means Fort Greely will now house 14 completed silos in Missile Field No. 2; 6 of those 14 silos will house operational interceptors and the remaining 8 silos provide the flexibility to add interceptors to increase the defense of the United States.
“I look forward to working with Secretary Gates, Pentagon officials, and the White House, to ensure our nation's missile defense programs are fully funded to safeguard America’s borders, our forward-deployed forces, and our allies against the full-range of ballistic missile threats.”