Officials at the U.S. Department of Defense last week reaffirmed their confidence in Fort Drum’s ability to ensure our national security well into the future.
U.S. Rep. Elise M. Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, received a letter dated June 26 stating that Fort Drum was the DoD’s preferred site for an East Coast missile defense facility. The DoD was required to report its assessment of “the environmental impacts of locating an additional continental United States interceptor site in the Eastern United States and identifying a preferred location for a CIS.” Fort Drum edged out two sites at Fort Cluster in Michigan and one at Camp Garfield in Ohio.
“I am proud to announce that after years of leading the effort on behalf of Fort Drum on the House Armed Services Committee, the Department of Defense has announced that Fort Drum is the preferred designation for an East Coast missile defense site,” Ms. Stefanik said in a statement released June 26. “Since day one in office, I have served as the No. 1 advocate for Fort Drum and our region and worked every day to achieve this designation. I led the effort to unite much of the New York Congressional Delegation around the selection of Fort Drum as the preferred site, and I thank my colleagues for their support. I also want to thank the countless community groups including Advocate Drum, state elected officials and the tens of thousands of families for their advocacy on behalf of our region. Most of all, thank you to the troops of the 10th Mountain Division for their service to our nation.”
When the government reactivated 10th Mountain Division in the mid-1980s, it selected Fort Drum as the division’s new home. The men and women of this group have been among the most deployed troops over the last two decades, contributing significantly to our fight against international terrorism.
And Fort Drum has met the military’s needs in preparing these soldiers for combat under the most challenging conditions. Declaring this post as the preferred site of an East Coast missile defense facility is more proof of how much Fort Drum is valued for its capabilities.
More work needs to be done to make missile defense technology fully operational. But Ms. Stefanik has pledged to begin working on Capitol Hill to see that funding is allocated to Fort Drum in the meantime. In preparation for a decision by the Pentagon to move forward with an East Coast missile defense facility, it’s important to get this project at Fort Drum underway.