Pentagon eyes Vermont for missile defense system - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Pentagon eyes Vermont for missile defense system

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The military calls it a Ground-based Midcourse Defense element. In English, it's a rocket designed to collide with an enemy missile at its highest point-- in outer space.

Camp Ethan Allen in Jericho is one of five sites along the East Coast the Department of Defense is considering for a new launch site.

"It's wasted money," said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont. "It's not going to make us any more secure whether it's in Vermont or anywhere else."

Leahy says the missiles are the wrong choice for Vermont and the country. He says the U.S. has spent more than $158 billion on the program since the Reagan administration and would rather see dollars spent on issues like veteran health care.

"In the real world, I defy you to find anybody who says this will work and say it unequivocally," Leahy said.

"I've watched the intercepts take place and it's not, you know, a fake moon landing or, this stuff really happened," said Stephen Pomeroy of Norwich University.

Retired Col. Stephen Pomeroy says the technology has been successful in tests and potentially as a deterrent. It's designed to knock out single missile strikes, not counter nuclear war. He says two facilities are operational in Alaska and California already to protect against the threat of North Korea. An East Coast facility would protect against Middle Eastern threats, though it isn't clear if any of those countries possess intercontinental ballistic missile technology now.

Reporter Kyle Midura: Is this technology important for national safety?

Col. Stephen Pomeroy: That's a debate for our elected representatives.

"The military industrial complex has gone completely off the rails," Chris Hurd said.

Hurd says he's pleasantly surprised that Vermont's governor and entire federal delegation are fighting the plan. He's been battling to keep the military's newest fighter jet, the F-35, out of the Green Mountain State. He argues the plane is ineffective and overpriced, and says the delegation's stances are inconsistent.

"To me their statement today is like talking out of both sides of their mouth," Hurd said.

"It's apples and oranges," Leahy said.

Leahy says fighter planes will remain necessary, but there's plenty of deterrent for enemies considering an attack on American soil, making missiles unnecessary.

The DOD is appraising the five East Coast sites, but it has not yet been determined if there will be a new site in the future.

Fort Drum in New York is also under consideration. Congressman Bill Owens says he would support a decision to base the system within his district.

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Pentagon considers Vt. for missile defense system

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