Boccieri: Missile Defense In Northeast Ohio Is Strategic Decision
Local military training center one of three locations nationwide considered for ballistic missile protection system

State Rep. John Boccieri (D-Poland) today announced his support for the Camp Ravenna Joint Military Training Center as the preferred site for the East Coast Missile Defense System.

The 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), as passed by Congress, requires the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), a division of the Department of Defense (DoD), to select an interceptor site along the East Coast for possible deployment of missile batteries. This missile defense site will aim to protect the homeland from a ballistic missile attack. Current sites already exist in Alaska and California.

The MDA is set to decide within the next few days among three possible ground-based defense system sites: Camp Ravenna, Fort Drum in New York and Fort Custer Training Center in Michigan.

“Camp Ravenna can be the ‘Iron-Dome’ for the East Coast,” said Boccieri, a member of the U.S. Air Force Reserve. “Strategically, this site will protect the East Coast from growing ballistic missile threats and, if the DoD decides to use this base, it will not interrupt any current training by reservists.”

The Poland lawmaker believes Ohio’s strong technological base will support the selection of Camp Ravenna Joint Military Training Center by the MDA, with Wright Patterson Air Force Base and the NASA/Glenn Propulsion Research Center both located in the Buckeye State.

“This site selection will only increase the strong military presence in northeast Ohio and have a positive economic impact on a region that always steps forward to help defend the nation,” added Boccieri.

The 2013 NDAA requires the MDA to prepare Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) for each possible location; the assessments were released May 31 for all three locations. Establishing the missile defense system in either one of the two non-Ohio sites has been determined to cause major traffic impacts, and there are potentially vulnerable structures close to the proposed facility at Fort Drum. In regards to Camp Ravenna, the MDA was slightly concerned about local contaminated groundwater and potential wetlands loss as a result of construction. However, EIAs are only one part of the equation and MDA has confirmed that other variables will be just as important in selecting a location.

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