In Fairbanks, missile agency director talks of big spending in AlaskaFebruary 24, 2016
FAIRBANKS—Alaska can expect continued investment at Fort Greely and Clear Air Force Station throughout the rest of the decade, according to statements made by the director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency during a Tuesday visit to Fairbanks.
Vice Adm. James Syring spoke at the Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce lunch meeting while midway through a tour of Alaska military sites that includes stops at installations near Kodiak, Fairbanks, Anderson and Delta Junction.
Syring highlighted expansion of the missile interceptor fleet at Fort Greely and a laundry list of upgrades at Clear Air Force Station near Anderson. In 2015, the military selected Clear as the location for its Long Range Discrimination Radar system.
The military’s investment in the radar at Clear and other missile defense expansion is expected to total somewhere near $1 billion, though much of that will go toward research and development. This year, during fiscal 2016, the military plans to undertake several projects at Clear to ready the base for the expansion.
Syring said he could not state what percentage of the budgeted expenses would go out to bid for private contractors, but he said it would be “a large part of the dollar figures” he mentioned Tuesday. He said the military is planning to host an industry day in Fairbanks in the next few months to brief contractors on what opportunities will be available during the next two or three years. He estimated that would take place before the start of summer.
A list for 2016 provided by Syring estimates the cost of those projects at roughly $20 million. They include main gate improvements, power improvement installation, man camp infrastructure placement, hazardous material removal and demilitarization of the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System.
In fiscal 2017, the military plans to begin phase one of its major construction plan at Clear, which will include construction of a mission control facility and infrastructure. That phase of the project is budgeted at $155 million.
In fiscal 2019, phase two would start, including construction of a new power plant, maintenance facility and fuel storage. Phase two is expected to cost $150 million. The military plans to have as many as 350 personnel working on construction and improvement at Clear from 2017 to 2021, reaching its peak in 2019, according to Syring.
Fort Greely has been in the process of expanding its missile defense interceptor fleet from 26 to 44 for several years. Syring said he expects the fleet expansion at Greely to be completed by the end of 2017.