Hoeven, Heitkamp, Cramer Call on Defense Secretary Hagel to Locate Ground Based Interceptors in Grand Forks

WASHINGTON – Senators John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp and Congressman Kevin Cramer today urged Department of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to consider Grand Forks Air Force Base (GFAFB) as a potential location for the future deployment of ground based interceptors (GBI) as part of our nation’s missile defenses.

The delegation made the request in a letter sent to Secretary Hagel, citing Section 227 of the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, which directs the Department of Defense to study at least three locations for the possible future deployment of GBI. The delegation noted that GFAFB is well suited for the mission, including its geographical location, as Congressional criteria stipulates locating two of the selected sites on the East Coast.

“The Department of Defense, through a Site Specific Site Activation Plan and an initial Environmental Impact Statement, identified GFAFB as a suitable location to deploy GBIs and associated radar in 1997. In addition to this analysis, we note that the GBI mission is currently manned by Army National Guard Air Defense soldiers and that the North Dakota Army National Guard Air Defense Artillery (ADA) Battalion is headquartered in Grand Forks. In short, GFAFB is as well prepared to support the deployment of GBIs as any location we are aware of in the nation,” the delegation wrote.

“Because of the analysis that has already been conducted on North Dakota and the North Dakota National Guard’s ability to support the GBI mission, we believe GFAFB should receive strong consideration as a candidate location and urge the Missile Defense Agency to review its merits carefully. GBI remains an important strategic need for our nation and it is critical that our nation select locations which can potentially guard our nation from attack and prevent potential enemies from acting against U.S. and global interests. We are confident that after the previous studies are reviewed and updated with a current site survey; you will find GFAFB remains an ideal solution for this mission requirement.”