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Missile-tracking Computer Data Center Opens at Fort Drum

Fort Drum entrance sign

FORT DRUM -- A new computer center used for missile defense was formally unveiled on post Thursday.

The Missile Defense Agency said the In-Flight Interceptor Communications System data terminal is able to send and receive messages from the kill vehicle in defense missiles, constantly transmitting target updates.

"This state-of-the-art facility has enhanced our ability to deter or defeat the limited use of long-range ballistic missiles against our nation," said Brig. Gen. William T. Cooley, the agency's program executive for programs and integration. "It is a vital asset provided to U.S. Northern Command to execute their critically important homeland defense mission."

Construction began in August 2013, and it was accepted for use in December 2015. It was constructed by Black Horse Group LLC, of Watertown, under the oversight of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Creation of the site was funded in the 2013 fiscal year defense authorization bill.

Five similar data terminals operate at Fort Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., where interceptor missiles are already placed, along with Shemya, Alaska.

The data terminal was heralded in a ceremony featuring a number of local and regional military officials, which was not open to local media.

The ceremony comes as the military reviews locations for the placement of a new missile site on the East Coast, including Fort Drum. No decision has been made on if or where such a site will be placed.

Research suggests a site at Fort Drum, near Route 3A, could mean hundreds of temporary and permanent jobs, and millions of dollars of direct and indirect economic impacts for Jefferson County.

Other sites under consideration for missile placement are Camp Ravenna Joint Military Training Center, Ohio, and Fort Custer Training Center, Mich.

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