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Peters, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Strengthen Homeland Missile Defense

Bipartisan Legislation Would Accelerate Process for New Missile Defense Site & Fort Custer Among Finalists to Host

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters, a member of the Senate Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees, joined his colleagues in introducing bipartisan legislation to strengthen and improve the reliability, capability, and capacity of U.S. homeland missile defense. The Advancing America’s Missile Defense Act of 2017 will, among other actions, accelerate the completion of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) as part of the next step in developing an interceptor site in the Midwest or the East Coast of the United States. The Missile Defense Agency is preparing the EIS for three potential additional missile defense sites, including the Fort Custer Training Center near Battle Creek Air National Guard Base.

“The United States faces an evolving number of security threats - from North Korea's provocative missile tests designed to inflame global tensions, to Iran’s ballistic missile tests in defiance of a UN Security Council resolution,” said Senator Peters, a former Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve. “It is critical that America take proactive steps to bolster our missile defense systems so we are prepared in the event of a missile attack directed at our homeland.”

Peters introduced the legislation with Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), in direct response to continued aggression from North Korea and Iran. Under dictator Kim Jong Un, North Korea has escalated its ballistic missile testing with the stated goal of developing a long-range missile capable of striking the United States. Additionally, Iran has continued its ballistic missile tests in defiance of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231.

Peters serves on the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, which oversees the U.S. military’s Missile Defense Agency, and has expressed strong support for Fort Custer as a host for the missile interceptor site. Last year, Peters joined members of the Michigan delegation in a bipartisan letter highlighting why Fort Custer is the best choice to host the new missile defense site, and he previously wrote to the Director of the Department of Defense (DoD)’s Missile Defense Agency (MDA) urging MDA to select Fort Custer.

The Advancing America’s Missile Defense Act of 2017 will additionally take a comprehensive review of current American missile defense system capabilities, including:

  • Promoting an integrated, layered ballistic missile defense system that incorporates different aspects of missile defense, such as ground based sensors and radars;
  • Authorizing an additional 28 GBIs;
  • Speeding the development and deployment of advanced interceptor technologies;
  • Accelerating the development and deployment of a space-based sensor layer;
  • Authorizing increased missile defense testing; and
  • Requiring a DoD report on potentially increasing GBI capacity.