News Release

No. 597-98
IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 17, 1998 (703)697-5737(public/industry)


The Ballistic Missile Defense Organization's (BMDO) National Missile Defense Joint Program Office announced today it has published a notice of intent in the Federal Register to begin public scoping meetings in conjunction with its plan to conduct an environmental impact analysis of candidate locations for elements of a potential National Missile Defense (NMD) system.

No decision has been made to deploy a NMD system. The first opportunity to consider the need for deployment will occur in 2000, based upon technical readiness of the NMD system together with the intelligence analysis of the potential of an emerging threat to the United States from a limited strategic ballistic missile attack from a rogue nation. If it is determined a threat exists, an initial NMD system can be deployed by 2003.

The purpose of the environmental scoping meeting is to solicit inputs from the public, interest groups and federal, state and local government agencies with regard to specific environmental concerns. This input is used to ensure these concerns are addressed in the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS). Following publication of the DEIS in 1999, public meetings will be held prior to the publication of the final environmental impact statement (FEIS) in 2000. After this document is completed, the BMDO director will issue a record of decision (ROD) to announce the NMD basing locations for consideration during the NMD deployment decision process.

The NMD system now in development and testing will consist of several different elements: ground-based interceptors (GBI), battle management, command and control (BMC2), In-Flight Interceptor Communications System (IFICS), X-Band Radars, Upgraded Early Warning Radars (UEWR) at existing radar sites, and Defense Support System satellites and later, Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) satellites for early warning launch detection. All elements of the NMD system will work together to protect all 50 states from a limited strategic ballistic missile attack by a rogue nation.

Candidate locations for NMD system elements are:

Ground Based Interceptor (1 Site for 20 interceptors)

Battle Management Command and Control Site (1 Site):

Additional BMC2 facilities can be retrofitted into the existing U.S. Space Command communication and control facilities in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

In-Flight Interceptor Communication System (Up to 14 Sites):

As operations and environmental studies on IFICS sites are still in the early stages of analysis, these locations may change. Also, it may be necessary to construct an IFICS in an as-yet undetermined site in New England. If so, public scoping will commence at a later date.

X-Band Radar (1 Radar):

All of the above candidate locations are installations and property controlled by the Department of Defense. Department policy requires that existing DoD property be considered before acquiring government or private land through purchase or lease. The candidate sites are the product of an extensive screening process to determine suitability for the NMD mission. The system engineer identified large geographic regions believed to be necessary to achieve optimal system performance of the NMD system elements to protect all 50 states from a limited strategic ballistic missile attack by a rogue nation. The performance regions have been defined so as to provide the maximum amount of time to detect and intercept the threat missile(s). As the NMD system evolves, it is likely additional siting studies will be required.

News media queries should be directed to Lt. Col. Rick Lehner, BMDO External Affairs, at (703) 604-3186, or via e-mail at [email protected]