Wednesday, December 11, 2013
(Continued from page 1)
The U.S. Capitol in Washington.
The Associated Press
The Pentagon is exploring potential locations for an installation that would house interceptor missiles capable of knocking down intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs, aimed at the eastern U.S.
There are currently two such facilities on the West Coast, but some in Congress have been pushing for an East Coast location to counter perceived threats from a nuclear-armed Iran. Intelligence officials estimate Iran may be able to test-fly an ICBM by 2015.
Defense officials have not mentioned any specific locations. But the Limestone/Caribou area in Aroostook -- former home of Loring Air Force Base -- has been mentioned as a likely candidate in the past. And the area was among two sites recommended by an independent report that made the rounds on Capitol Hill last year.
Pentagon officials were not giving any hints to members of Congress last week, however.
"Literally hundreds of sites are being considered," Vice Adm. James Syring, director of the Missile Defense Agency, told a House Armed Services subcommittee. "That process is ongoing and very active."
According to Syring, the criteria when evaluating suitable sites include proximity to population centers and suitable drop-zones for the interceptor booster rockets. The list of candidates will likely be narrowed down to three finalists by the end of summer or fall. But between the required environmental studies and construction, a site would not likely be operational for five to seven years -- if it is ever built at all.
Kevin Miller can be contacted at 317-6256 or at: