Peters Presses for Missile Defense System in Fort Custer
Peters Letter to Missile Defense Agency Highlights Fort Custer’s Advantages
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) sent a letter to the Director of the Department of Defense’s Missile Defense Agency (MDA) urging MDA to select Fort Custer as the next location to host a new ground-based missile defense system. Fort Custer is undergoing environmental review and is among four locations nationwide under consideration to host the MDA’s next missile defense system. If selected, the project would bring over 2,000 jobs to Kalamazoo and Calhoun counties and boost economic productivity in the area.
“Fort Custer’s strategic location, preparedness, and strong statewide support make it an ideal location for the Missile Defense Agency’s next missile defense system,” added Senator Peters. “I’m committed to working with community leaders, the Governor and Michigan’s Congressional delegation to continue building support for Fort Custer and highlighting the benefits it brings to our national security.”
In the letter, Senator Peters pointed out that Fort Custer is strategically positioned between Detroit and Chicago, providing efficient access to two major interstate highways, I-94 and I-69, as well as its close proximity to a 10,000-foot runway at W.K. Kellogg Air National Guard Base and the 110th Airlift Wing. Additionally, the nature of construction and operations for a missile defense mission require an installation with a demonstrated capability for protecting the environment while supporting the mission, and Fort Custer was recognized by both the Department of Defense and the Army with awards for environmental stewardship in 2010.
Earlier this year, Senator Peters toured Fort Custer and the W.K. Kellogg Air National Guard Base in Battle Creek, where he was briefed on the latest activities and learned more about the potential site for the MDA’s new missile defense system.
The full text of the letter is available below, or click here:
Vice Admiral James D. Syring
Missile Defense Agency
5700 18th Street, Bldg 245
Fort Belvoir, VA 22060-5573
Dear Admiral Syring,
I write to voice my support for Fort Custer Training Center as the location for a new ground-based interceptor ballistic missile defense mission. Last week the Michigan State Senate adopted a resolution expressing support for bringing this mission to Fort Custer. I recently had the opportunity to visit Fort Custer where I was briefed on the installation’s activities and saw the many advantages the site offers.
Fort Custer is strategically positioned between Detroit and Chicago and provides efficient access to two major interstate highways, I-94 and I-69. It is also nearby a 10,000-foot runway at W.K. Kellogg Air National Guard Base and the 110th Airlift Wing.
In 2010, Fort Custer was recognized by both the Department of Defense and the Army with awards for environmental stewardship. The nature of construction involved and operations required for a missile defense mission necessitate choosing an installation with a demonstrated capability for protecting the environment while supporting the mission.
Michigan’s Governor and Adjutant General also strong support selection of Fort Custer for this mission. The resolution passed by the Michigan State Senate joins similar resolutions passed by the Michigan State House of Representatives, the Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners, and the Calhoun County Board of Commissioners which demonstrate support for the mission from local elected officials. Southwest Michigan First and Battle Creek Unlimited, economic development organizations dedicated to the economic success of the region, also support bringing this mission to Fort Custer.
I am committed to supporting your agency’s critical mission given the threat facing our nation. North Korea and Iran are attempting to develop increasingly sophisticated missiles and violent extremist groups, including well-financed groups like ISIS, present a constantly changing threat.
For these reasons, I respectfully urge you to select Fort Custer as the location for the next ground-based interceptor site.
Gary C. Peters
United States Senator
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