Government

Ohio Reps, Senators Urge Camp Ravenna for Missile Defense Site

WASHINGTON – Members of Ohio’s congressional delegation Monday sent a letter to Defense Secretary James Mattis urging the selection of Camp Ravenna as the East Coast Missile Defense site.

Both of Ohio’s U.S. senators and 14 of the state’s 16 members of the House of Representatives – Republicans and Democrats – signed the letter in support of the site, U.S. Reps. Tim Ryan, D-13 Ohio, and Bill Johnson, R-6 Ohio, reported Tuesday.

The letter can be read here.

“We are grateful for the bipartisan leadership of our delegation to harness the potential of the Ravenna site. Ravenna represents the lowest cost, easiest to construct option for the Department of Defense,” James Dignan, president and CEO of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, said. “The economic impact of a Ravenna selection will be felt all across Northeast Ohio, and has the support not only of the local business community, but of the State legislature, as well as civic and labor leaders across the region.”

According to a statement jointly issued by the chamber, Greater Cleveland Partnership, Eastern Ohio Military Affairs Commission and Portage Development Board, construction of the missile defense site at Camp Ravenna would represent a $4.5 billion investment in Ohio, with more than 2,000 construction jobs over a three- to five-year period. Maintaining operation of the site is expected to generate more than 800 permanent jobs.

In addition, the fact sheet notes that the Camp Ravenna site has minimal environmental impact issues based on a draft environmental impact study. The installation has more than 21,000 acres of land and well-developed infrastructure to permit construction without disrupting ongoing missions and activities at the installation.

It also points to competitive material’s costs and an available construction workforce exceeding 61,000 Ohioans, drawn from the population centers of Youngstown, Cleveland, Akron and Canton.

The camp’s location, infrastructure and surrounding workforce make it the “prime” property to build the East Coast Missile Defense site, Ryan said.

“My tour of Camp Ravenna last month further reinforces my confidence in our ability and readiness to take on this national security endeavor. It’s critical that we act now to upgrade our nation’s defenses, and Northeast Ohio is the perfect place to accomplish that,” he continued.

Johnson, R-6 Ohio, said in a news release that he was pleased to join “leaders and groups” across the state supporting the effort to bring the missile defense site to Camp Ravenna.

“A new missile defense site is more strategically important than ever in a world with emerging threats like Russia, China, Iran, and an ever more obstinate North Korea — and I’m glad President Trump is serious about taking all steps to defend the homeland,” he said.

“Ohioans take great pride in the mission at Camp Ravenna, and this is an opportunity to build on this site’s contributions to our national defense,” U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said.

Placing the interceptor site at Camp Ravenna would give the Missile Defense Agency access to the state’s “world-class workforce,” and its proximity to Youngstown and Akron would help ensure timely construction by Ohio workers,” he added.

“The threat to our homeland from ballistic missiles is constantly growing. We must continue to bolster our defenses and adding a third ground-based interceptor site is an important part of that strategy,” U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said. “Camp Ravenna is uniquely suited to house that site – providing a cost-efficient and effective location to help defend us.”

Northeastern Ohio appreciates the Ohio delegation’s leadership in making sure the Defense Department understands Camp Ravenna’s “unique suitability” to host the missile defense site,” said Vito Abruzzino, executive director of the Eastern Ohio Military Affairs Commission. “The country needs an East Coast site to protect the nation and its citizens from new and resurgent potential ballistic threats.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.