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Old 08-23-2019, 11:58 AM
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Alaska's congressional delegation is looking into 'troubling' Pentagon decision to cancel missile project
BY: Alex Demarban - Alaska Dispatch News & Stars & Stripes - 8-23-19

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Tribune News Service) — Alaska’s congressional delegation expressed concern Thursday about the Pentagon’s decision to cancel a project designed to improve ground-based interceptor missiles, raising questions about additional missiles set to be housed at Fort Greely outside Fairbanks.

The Pentagon canceled the Boeing contract for the project last week amid concerns about unstated design flaws associated with the missiles, which are designed to strike down incoming threats as North Korea, China and Russia take steps to advance their missile capabilities.

Congress had authorized the Pentagon to add 20 updated interceptor missiles to the current fleet of 44. Most of the current fleet is housed in three missile fields at Fort Greely, southeast of Fairbanks.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski said in a statement that it makes sense to see the U.S. military adapting to new threats. But she said it’s “disappointing” the contract was canceled before the additional 20 ground-based interceptors were placed in Alaska.

“I will demand answers so that we fully understand the rationale behind this decision,” she said. "It is my understanding that construction of Missile Field Four at Fort Greely will continue, and once the next-generation interceptors are built, I will work to ensure that those will be placed in Alaska to serve as our nation’s first line of defense.”

The 20 planned missiles were to be equipped with improved “kill-vehicles,” devices released from the airborne missiles to strike and disable incoming threats.

Sen. Dan Sullivan, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he’s “deeply concerned” about the Pentagon’s change of plans, according to a statement from his office.

“Given the continued evolution of advanced adversaries’ missile capabilities and still uncertain and unpredictable nature of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, we cannot afford to wait possibly a decade for a new and still conceptual kill vehicle,” he said. “I plan to dig deep into the assumptions made and details of the decision-making undertaken that led to what I hope is not this short-sighted decision.”

Rep. Don Young called the decision to cancel the redesigned kill vehicle program “troubling," according to a statement.

“When it comes to our national defense posture, Alaska is an important strategic location for keeping Americans safe," he said. "Our national defense cannot wait for a new kill vehicle program to be developed, and it is one of my highest priorities to see a new kill vehicle swiftly designed and implemented.”

The Republican delegation, which has been traveling in Alaska, could not be reached directly for comment Thursday.

©2019 the Alaska Dispatch News (Anchorage, Alaska)
Visit the Alaska Dispatch News (Anchorage, Alaska) at
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


Personal note: I'm sensing a little insecurity by Alaska not having any updated Ground Based (updated version) interceptor missiles. After all they are in close proximity to the Russians and may take the 1st salvo if a war breaks out. I do believe if I was on the front line of a possible war I'd want the best offense I could have and a better defense against any chance to taking the 1st hit. How about you?


O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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