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Saturday, June 15th, 2024

Michigan delegation pushes for Fort Custer to be named midcourse missile defense site

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Members of Michigan’s congressional delegation recently advocated for the Missile Defense Agency to name the Michigan National Guard Fort Custer Training Center in Augusta as a ground-based midcourse missile defense site.

The lawmakers made the plea in a letter to U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Samuel Cravens, the director of the Missile Defense Agency. The lawmakers noted that the fiscal year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) requires the secretary of defense to name the preferred location of a potential Continental Interceptor Site (CIS) within 60 days of the Ballistic Missile Defense Review.

“Fort Custer is strategically located and provides superior coverage to protect the west coast of the United States,” the letter stated. “North Korea poses an increasingly substantial threat to our homeland, culminating in the recent launch of a new intercontinental ballistic missile that flew higher and longer than previous launches. A missile defense site at Fort Custer would be well-placed to respond to threats like this and the location offers strategic and operational effectiveness.”

The letter, which was led by U.S. Sens. Gary Peters (D-MI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), also noted that Fort Custer has “excellent existing infrastructure,” as well as access to two major interstate highways and a nearby 10,000-foot runway.

“The fields at Fort Custer are shovel ready and it is our understanding the CIS can be constructed at the lowest cost with the least environmental impact,” the letter continued. “The cost to operate such a site at Fort Custer would be competitive as well. Fort Custer was recognized in 2010 by the Department of Defense and the Army with awards for environmental stewardship, reflecting investments made in energy efficiency, including solar fields and a wind funnel to generate electrical power.”