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Proximity to Wright-Patt cited in letter touting Ohio for missile site

Published: Wednesday, March 07, 2018 @ 11:16 AM
By: Jessica Wehrman - Washington Bureau

The Ohio congressional delegation is doubling down on its efforts to lure a Missile Defense site to northeast Ohio.

In a letter to Defense Secretary James Mattis dated Monday, Ohio’s two senators and all but one member of the Ohio House delegation urged the Trump administration to select Camp Ravenna as the East Coast Missile Defense site. The letter was led by the state’s two senators as well as Reps. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta and Tim Ryan, D-Niles. Only Rep. Mike Turner, a Dayton Republican who serves as a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, did not sign — but Turner has separately called for the establishment of an East Coast Missile Defense site.

The letter touts Ravenna as an ideal location for the site, with members arguing that its location near transportation networks and its workforce make it an ideal location for the site, which would supplement other missile defense sites in Alaska and California.

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“The base’s strategic location, cost-effective operation, optimal size, access to robust regional infrastructure and ability to prioritize the missile defense mission make it well-suited for this important role,” the letter read.

The Trump administration is in the final throes of determining whether to invest $3.6 billion into a third continental U.S. site that could strike down intermediate and long-range ballistic missiles. If the Trump administration decides to move forward, a decision on which site to select would occur within two months. Sites in Michigan and upstate New York are also being considered.

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This isn’t the first time the Ohio delegation has lobbied for the site. In a 2016 letter to the Missile Defense Agency, the group said it would bring 2,300 construction jobs and up to 850 full-time employees once the system is operational.

“Ohioans stand ready to support the defense of our nation,” the 2016 letter read.

In a fact sheet promoting Ravenna’s bid, Northeast Ohio economic development agencies tout its size — more than 21,000 acres — as well as its proximity to NASA–Glenn and Wright–Patterson Air Force Base to argue that it has technology expertise readily available.