Trump administration proposes $2.1 billion expansion of Fort Greely missile-defense base

One of 40 ground-base interceptor missiles at Greely’s missile-defense base is lowered into its silo.
(Missile Defense Agency)

The Trump administration announced last week it has asked Congress to appropriate $2.1 billion to expand the missile-defense base on Fort Greely.

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The request would include $200 million to pay for construction of a fourth missile-silo field at the base. The remaining amount would be used to buy and emplace 20 interceptor missiles in the new field.

The three existing missile fields at the base on Greely now accommodate 40 of the nation’s 44 ground-based midcourse defense interceptors. The GMD system is designed to destroy an incoming enemy missile while it’s still above the atmosphere.

Officials with Boeing Company, the GMD system’s prime contractor, announced last week that the company and subcontractors had installed the 40th interceptor at the Greely missile-defense base. That was the last of 14 additional interceptors that the Obama administration had ordered in 2013, after a previous confrontation with North Korea over its development of an offensive ballistic-missile system that the nation’s leadership is building to enable it to deliver nuclear warheads to adversaries.

President Trump said the fourth missile field and its 20 additional interceptors are needed to defend the United States from a missile attack by North Korea.

All three members of Alaska’s congressional delegation applauded the proposal and pledged to work for passage of a measure that would amend the Defense Department budget to authorize appropriating money for the missile-base expansion.

Tim Ellis is a reporter at KUAC in Fairbanks.

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