In March, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced that in light of renewed North Korean belligerence, including long-range missile testing in violation of international sanctions, the United States will beef up its missile-defense system to protect American cities.
The Defense Intelligence Agency has confirmed it believes Pyongyang has a nuclear weapon small enough to place on a missile. The damage from a missile carrying a nuclear warhead, is unimaginable. The United States already has homeland-defense sites in Alaska and in California; these mainly defend against potential North Korean missiles, which would enter US airspace from the West.
But what about Iran? It continues to develop its missile program and to defiantly move toward a nuclear-weapons capability even in the face of sanctions. And an Iranian long-range missile would enter US airspace from the East. The current missile-defense system provides some protection from missiles headed toward the East Coast, but the country needs another site to give our military more chances and another angle to successfully intercept a missile headed to U.S. from Iran.
New York’s Fort Drum is considered a leading contender for this prestigious responsibility. Its location in relation to where enemy missiles would be headed makes it ideal, which is why the Pentagon selected it as the new site for a data center to help track such missiles. As Sen. Schumer wrote in a letter to the White House: “Should military experts determine that a new system on the East Coast is necessary, workable and cost effective, Fort Drum and Griffiss Air Force Base are uniquely capable for the job. . . A federal investment for missile interceptors in Upstate New York could create thousands of jobs and significant revenue in local communities, just as similar missile-defense systems have in California and Alaska.”