Five Possible East Coast Missile Defense Sites

Missile Defense test a success

The U.S. Defense Department has identified five possible East Coast missile defense sites, though the effort is still mostly a paperwork exercise and far from becoming reality.

The potential locations for housing ground-based interceptors are Fort Drum in upstate 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.

The Pentagon maintains a fleet of 30 rocket-like interceptors designed to shoot down incoming threats such as nuclear missiles as part of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system. It already plans to increase the number of interceptors stored in silos at Fort Greely in Alaska and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to 44 by 2017.

Led by Republicans, lawmakers recently ordered the department to study the feasibility of building a site in the eastern United States, despite the ground-based system’s mixed record in tests and the fact that the brass said an additional facility wasn’t required.

“In response to a congressional requirement, we are evaluating several sites in the continental United States for a potential future deployment of additional Ground-based Interceptors, or GBIs,” Navy Vice Adm. James Syring, director of the Missile Defense Agency, said in a statement announcing the locations.

“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,” he said.

An environmental impact study alone may take as long as two years, Syring said.

In a written reply to Sen. Carl Levin in June, Syring, along with Lt. Gen. Richard Formica, commander of the Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense, acknowledged there is “no validated military requirement” for an East Coast missile defense site.

Regardless, a team from the Defense Department will visit each of the five potential locations to study the infrastructure, including power supply, water availability, transportation access, according to the statement.

An interceptor launched from Vandenberg during a July 5 test missed its target over the Pacific Ocean. Afterward, lawmakers cited among their concerns the system’s record of hitting targets in only 8 of 15 attempts; the high cost of testing, which runs about $215 million per exercise; and the fact that many of the interceptors aren’t operational.

The Pentagon plans to spend more than $1 billion in the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 to expand the fleet of interceptors. Overall, it wants to spend $9.16 billion on ballistic missile defense. That’s $558 million, or 5.7 percent, less than the $9.72 billion it requested for this year.

The figures don’t take into account automatic budget cuts, known as sequestration, which took effect March 1 and will remain in effect over the next decade unless Congress and the White House agree to an alternative deficit-reduction plan.

About the Author

Brendan McGarry
Brendan McGarry is the managing editor of He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.
  • S.penrose

    Lol, the smoke looks like a dick

  • Col. Norman

    I find it funny that they make study f a program which will never be accepted due to Presidential opposition. I also find that almost half of the missiles miss there target makes me think this maybe a waste of time. Russian and Chinese ICBMs could punch threw this fence in a all out war. Another false sense of protection, like rifle bullet proof helmets.

  • Lance

    word up

  • d.e.

    well looks like this website is on the do not visit anymore administrator list. sissy

  • Bernard

    Cancel this and send that money to NASA.

  • hibeam

    Pretty obvious we have given up on the idea the North Korea and Iran will never be allowed to have nuclear weapons. Plan B. We will try to shoot them down. Another red line humiliation.

  • Henry

    A screwy idea to make money for insiders. The obvious choice is Wallops

    The infrastructure is there already, so it will cost one-third as much to build and one-quarter as much to man.

  • Steve B.

    I admit that the “NAS Portsmouth” site had me puzzled. For one, I wasn’t aware there was a naval air station in Portsmouth. A navy shipyard – yes, but I’m now assuming the NAS is located at the old Pease AFB. Why they need a NAS at Pease, which the AF closed and when they had Brunswick NAS just up the road, is a puzzle, but that’s how the base closing stuff works. But a bit of research shows that the SERE site is actually up near Rangely, Maine, way the heck up in NW Maine. No clue where though, but if the locals are aware of this, I’d bet they will be happy for the work.

  • Obama promised to cut missile defense prior to his election in 2008. I’m not sure what the numbers were, but I do know for a fact that there were significant layoffs in the GMD program soon after his election.

    • Steve B.

      Recall that Obama added 14 more interceptors to the Ft. Greeley system last March, so seemingly see’s “some” value, though like many, is skeptical that a system in development since ’99 or so and that has cost 40 billion or so to date, only has about a 50% fail/success rate. Perhaps it’s wisdom we are seeing in not wanting to pour money into an bottomless pit.

  • oblatt1

    Amongst the serious analysts there has been an expectation for a while now that America will be hit sooner and later by a nuke. Ironically most expected it to be a nuke on 9/11 not airliners. But since then under bush in particular the number of enemies we have has go up 10 fold. If we continue down this path a large scale lot of life on the CONUS is pretty much inevitable.

  • Jay

    The Soviets developed missile defense in the 70s, it is still deployed near Moscow.
    The Russians claim that it no longer is armed with nuclear warheads, but since they never developed any reliable conventional interceptor, it probably is still nuclear.

    The idea behind the Soviet system was not to intercept every incoming, but send up nukes to take down the first wave of US warheads, to buy time for the Commie leadership to take shelter. I assume the US east coast interceptors would serve a similar purpose: protect the politicans, not the people.

  • PolicyWonk

    Congress has determined that a US East Coast missile defense base is needed, despite the US military considering it unnecessary. Hence – if this goes through, we can be certain of a few things:

    1. Corporate welfare is alive and well
    2. The HoR doesn’t buy its own BRAVO SIERRA w/r/t sequestration or budgetary discipline

  • Mystick

    So… I guess ABMT is moot now that the other signatory entity is technically no more…

  • Stratege

    With mentioned miss rate this ABM system should be pretty useless against maneuverable RVs deployed on new Russian ICBM/SLBMs.

  • dan

    Dont worry, all this technology is useless when our socialistic leader is doing far greater damage than what any bomb could do. Who needs to go to war with a country that is broke, let alone if the agenda comes true for U.N. agenda 21 and one world government. Eliminate the middle class and take away our guns!