WASHINGTON — The Ohio lawmaker who led the effort to create an East Coast missile defense site made it clear Wednesday that he’s frustrated with the prolonged delay in announcing a location.
Camp Garfield, formerly the Ravenna Arsenal and Camp Ravenna in northeast Ohio, is competing with two other sites to land the missile defense mission, which would supplement sites in Alaska and California and represent the only missile defense site on the Eastern Seaboard.
In a March 26 letter to Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, the Ohio congressional delegation said that if Ravenna was selected, it would bring 2,300 construction jobs to the region and up to 850 full-time employees once the system is operational.
Rep. Mike Turner, a Dayton Republican who is ranking member of the House Armed Service Committee’s Strategic Forces Subcommittee, said the wait for a decision has gone on long enough.
Turner first successfully sought language to create an East Coast missile defense site in 2013 as part of a bill authorizing defense programs. Since then, the Department of Defense has completed an environmental impact study and statement. A decision has been made, he said, but no one has announced it.
“You have three communities that are vying for this — two need to be let go,” Turner said during a hearing on missile defense. “Two need to be able to be told they can stand down, and their communities and their chambers of commerce and everybody else who’s working to advocate for their community needs to understand that actually a decision has been made because you’ve completed all the data work necessary for that decision. It just needs to be announced.”
Ravenna is competing for the site with the Fort Custer Training Center near Battle Creek, Michigan, and Fort Drum, New York, north of Syracuse.
Air Force Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, director of the Missile Defense Agency, said he has recommended that the Defense Department announce the selected site. He said it’s being deliberated at the secretary of Defense level and “other places.”