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Fort Greely, Alaska

In August 2001 the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization issued a Record of Decision (ROD) to conduct initial site preparation activities for the Fort Greely, Alaska portion of a Missile Defense System (MDS) Test Bed. Fort Greely is a potential deployment location in Alaska for Ground-Based Interceptor (GBI) silos, Battle Management Command and Control (BMC2) facilities, and other support facilities for the Ground Based Midcourse Element (GBME), formerly called the National Missile Defense (NMD) system, of the MDS. Although the decision on GBME deployment has not been made and construction of MDS test facilities was dependent on Congressional appropriations and also has not been made, the Department of Defense has determined that it was prudent to proceed with site preparation activities for MDS test bed facilities at Fort Greely to preserve the near term option to develop an MDS test bed.

President Bush decided to provide the nation with an operational missile defense capability. On December 17, 2002, the President annouced his decision to field an initial defensive operation (IDO) capability. The initial fielding would provide a modest protection of the US and would be improved over time. MDA issued a Record of Decision (ROD) to support the fielding of up to 40 GBI silos at Fort Greely, Alaska.

To support test bed activities, MDA completed the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense, Validation of Operational Concept Environmental Assessment (GMD Validation of Operational Concept EA) to construct test bed assets at Fort Greely, Alaska and at other supporting Alaska locations. The GMD Validation of Operational Concept EA primarily examined ground activities regarding the construction of six GBI silos and support facilities to validate the operational concept of the test bed.

The Fort Greely IDO is a capability of the GMD element within the broader conceptual BMDS. The Fort Greely IDO components will consist of up to 40 silos, equipped with GBI missiles, IDTs, and support facilities and infrastructure at the existing Validation of Operational Concept (VOC) Test Site. These IDO components and their support facilities at Fort Greely are a subset of the preferred alternative for a GBI site in the NMD Deployment EIS (July 2000), which evaluated the environmental effects of deploying up to 100 GBI missiles with related facilities and infrastructure at alternative sites in AK and ND.

The following existing and planned BMDS assets would be fielded and/or integrated to make up the Fort Greely GMD IDO capability. Six silos and GBI missiles, BMC2, Defense Satellite Communication System (DSCS), one IDT, support facilities and infrastructure, and FOC at Fort Greely, AK, which are part of the GMD VOC test bed currently under construction. Up to forty missile silos, equipped with GBI missiles, one additional IDT, supporting facilities (including backup power plant), infrastructure, and FOC communication links at Fort Greely, AK. MDA currently plans only a maximum of 20 GBI missiles at Fort Greely, but this ROD documents a total of 40 silos equipped with GBI missiles in order to provide maximum flexibility for maintenance and future operational needs.

DoD's initial plan for a missile defense capability called for up to 20 GBIs capable of intercepting and destroying intercontinental ballistic missiles during the midcourse phase of flight, a period that offers the greatest opportunity for a "hit to kill." In addition to those planned for Fort Greely, another four are slated for Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., by 2005.

A historic moment took place 22 July 2004 at Fort Greely, Alaska, as the first ground-based missile interceptor (GBI) -- Initial Defensive Capability 1 (IDC-1) -- was placed in an underground silo at the missile defense complex there. Army Maj. Gen. John W. Holly said the emplacement of the interceptor "marks the end of an era where we have not been able to defend our country against long-range ballistic missile attacks." He is the director for the Missile Defense Agency's Ground-based Midcourse Defense Joint Program Office. Up to five more interceptors will be emplaced at Fort Greely, located 100 miles from Fairbanks, by the end of 2004. The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) hoped to have up to 10 more interceptors emplaced by the end of 2005. The emplacement of the first GBI did not mean the missile defense system is operational. This will happen after more interceptors are emplaced and the interconnected architecture of radars, sensors, battle management and command, control and communications is activated.

The Fort Greely IDO components, when combined with existing GMD test assets, early warning radars, satellites, communications networks, and command and control facilities, will provide a capability to protect the United States from a limited ballistic missile attack. Additional GMD flight test assets, including a Sea-Based Test X-Band Radar (SBX) to be located in the Pacific region. These assets, if selected and integrated into the test architecture, would complement the Fort Greely components and enhance the IDO capability.




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