Contributed by Mike Anderson
Today the Alaska Congressional Delegation welcomed the announcement by the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) that it is examining the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Kodiak as a potential site for missile defense flight testing for regional missile defense systems, such as the Theatre High Altitude Air Defense (THAAD) system. MDA today released a Notice of Intent for a Sole Source Contract for the Alaska Aerospace Corporation in Federal Business Opportunities, the federal government’s online acquisition information system, to help test components of the nation’s ballistic missile defense systems. The announcement follows Navy Vice Admiral James Syring’s inspection visit to the Pacific Spaceport Complex in February.
"Today’s announcement is great news for Kodiak and for Alaska. The Missile Defense Agency continues to recognize Alaska's geographic advantage in the execution of its mission. Testing regional missile defense systems in Kodiak is the latest chapter in a longstanding relationship between the Missile Defense Agency and our state,” Senator Murkowski said. “Along with the Air Force’s plans to base the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter at Eielson, this is yet another tangible demonstration of the military’s growing interest in Alaska and will further solidify our state’s long-term status as a strategic asset to the nation’s defense.”
“Today’s announcement by MDA reaffirms the fact that Alaska is the cornerstone of our nation’s missile defense,” said Senator Sullivan. “The potential opportunity for regional missile defense flight testing on Kodiak for systems that could include THAAD would help revitalize a longstanding partnership between MDA and the Alaska Aerospace Corporation. Having just visited Kodiak and spoken with members of the community, I am hopeful this news will breathe new life into a world-class launch complex on the island. From my position on the Senate Armed Services Committee, I have had several discussions with MDA Director Vice Admiral Syring about Kodiak’s potential for missile testing and I fought to secure a provision in last year’s NDAA highlighting the importance of the Pacific Spaceport Complex – Alaska in helping the Department of Defense meet its national security requirements. I will continue to promote this critical launch complex as a site for future MDA missions and testing because of its unique advantages and important location.”
“As an early supporter of our nation’s Ballistic Missile Defense System, including efforts in the late 90’s to pass the ‘All-American Resolution’ to ensure equal protection for Alaska and Hawaii from ballistic missile threats, I’m extremely pleased with today’s announcement,” said Congressman Young. “With growing threats from North Korea, combined with Iran’s nuclear ambitions, it’s vital that the United States remain vigilant in our efforts to defend against rogue nations set on acquiring and using long-range missile technology. The Alaska Aerospace Corporation (AAC), a critical piece of our nation’s space-launch infrastructure, and the MDA continue to serve an invaluable role in protecting our nation. Today’s announcement demonstrates our nation’s commitment to providing robust missile defense, ensures our systems are properly tested and evaluated, and reaffirms the immense value of the Pacific Spaceport-Alaska and AAC to the Department of Defense. I remain committed to building on previous year’s efforts – including key provisions supporting the expansion of Ground-based Missile interceptors and the development of the Long Range Discrimination Radar at Fort Greely, Alaska to ensure the safety and security of our nation.”
The announcement continues a year of positive developments for the military’s future in Alaska. MDA has separately announced plans to construct a $300 million Long Range Discrimination Radar at Clear Air Force Station near Anderson, and the Air Force has announced that it will base the F-35 Joint Strike