Ground-Based Midcourse Defense Test Bed at Eareckson Air Station, Alaska

16 February 2002

by Bruce Gagnon


Against the threat of ballistic missiles and Weapons of Mass Destruction, President Bush has listed, as one of his priorities, the development of missile defense to provide U.S. and other allies a shield. The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is responsible for developing and testing the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS).

One of the elements of BMDS under development is the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD), formerly known as the National Missile Defense System (NMDS). GMD is designed to intercept long-ranged ballistic missiles during the midcourse (upper atmosphere) segment of their flight.

Interceptors have been successfully tested; however, following reviews directed by President Bush, MDA is focusing on providing more realistic testing.  MDA proposes to construct facilities in Alaska to support the independent part of the Test Bed that will validate the GMD operational concept, under realistic conditions.

MDA is currently completing its analysis of this proposal, pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act. Another proposed independent part of the Test Bed includes facilities and operations required to expand intercept flight tests.

This application covers the Eareckson Air Station portion of the first of these independent Test Bed projects. Proposed Test Bed activities at Eareckson Air Station on Shemya Island include upgrading an existing radar and installation of Ground-Based Battle Management Command, Control, and Communication (GBMC3) systems with In-Flight Interceptor Communication System Data Terminals (IDTs) and communcation network equipment.  Related proposed construction activities include alterations to existing support facilities and funding for upgrades to the existing Air Force electrical Power generation plant and a fuel oil storage tank.  This project will allow MDA to test the communication links and to better develop procedures for constructing potential future GMD components under Alaska conditions.

Public comments on the described work, along with the reference number (4-2000-0729), should be completed no later than March 4, 2002 to become part of the record and be considered in the condition.

You may send comments prior to the expiration date to: [email protected]

(NOT [email protected] as originally notified - one way to discourage public comment is to give a bad address to those wishing to comment and that is what the Pentagon did)

For more information contact:  Mr. Ellis Gilliland at (256) 313-9609.


1)  Project will be expensive, costing hundreds of billions of dollars, and will require cuts in human needs programs.

2)  The project will be destabilizing and will create an unnecessary new arms race in space making life on Earth less secure as a result.

3)  The project will have adverse effects in Alaska by impacting the local environment in a negative way.  (Launch accidents, toxic rocket exhaust, contamination of water, construction impacts on the land...)

4)  No significant need has been established making this project a waste of taxpayers dollars.

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