Politics

DeWine Supports Camp Garfield for Interceptor

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Gov. Mike DeWine added his voice Wednesday to those calling for Camp James A. Garfield in Ravenna to be designated as a third continental U.S. missile interceptor base.

DeWine sent a letter Thursday urging acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan to choose the former Camp Ravenna in Trumbull and Portage counties for the ballistic missile defense base.

Late last month, members of Ohio’s congressional delegation – including U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman and U.S. Reps. Tim Ryan and Bill Johnson – also sent a letter to Shanahan calling on him to select Camp Ravenna for the interceptor base.

Last month, a Defense Department spokesman said the department doesn’t discuss “specific timelines of potential projects, projects, etc.”

In January, the Defense Department released its 2019 Missile Defense Review, which left unresolved the question of whether to establish the proposed East Coast Missile Defense Site, which would join existing continental missile interceptor sites in Alaska and California. In addition to Camp Garfield, Fort Drum in upstate New York and Fort Custer in southern Michigan are under consideration.

If brought to Ohio, the site could have an economic impact of up to $4 billion, with approximately 2,000 construction jobs and significant permanent direct and indirect jobs, according to a news release from the governor’s office. That impact could be “immense for a region that was devastated” by the recent closing of the General Motors Lordstown Complex, DeWine said.

“We in Ohio want to work, to contribute, and to lend value to our national defense. I can think of no better way to accomplish those goals than selection of Camp Garfield as the east coast missile interceptor site,” the governor said.

In the letter, DeWine also stressed that Camp Garfield is an ideal location for the proposed missile defense site due to its strategic location within most of the major population centers in the United States. Camp Garfield meets or exceeds all the known criteria for a interceptor site and offers a highly-skilled, highly-educated workforce to build and operate the strategic installation.

“The Ohio National Guard possesses one of the most experienced force of air defenders in the nation. This new interceptor mission can be confidently placed in their experienced hands,” he added.

Copyright 2019 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.