BATTLE CREEK, MI — U.S. Sen. Gary Peters toured Fort Custer Wednesday to show support for a proposed missile defense system that could be constructed at the military base.
Fort Custer, a 7,500-acre training base for the U.S. Army Reserves and other branches of the military that straddles Calhoun and Kalamazoo counties, is one of four locations currently undergoing an environmental impact study that will be used to partially determine the area best suited for the project.
Peters said he strongly supports the proposed project.
“With its strategic location between Detroit and Chicago, accessibility to freeways, and Michigan’s tradition of supporting our military and veterans, Fort Custer and its existing facilities would be an ideal location for the proposed missile defense system,” Peters, D-Bloomfield Hills, said in a press release. “A missile defense system at Fort Custer would benefit both our national security and Michigan’s economy, and I’m proud to support efforts to bring the defense system to this facility.”
The missile defense system would involve 20 to 60 non-weaponized missiles, according to Lt. Col Mark Gorzynski, commander of the Fort Custer Training Center in Augusta. They are hit-to-kill missiles that don’t carry an explosive element. Each would be about 55 feet long and weigh 22 to 27 tons, and would be launched from in-the-ground, double-cement silos.
The project is expected to have a $3.2 billion positive economic impact on the region’s economy, according to the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. That is expected to include 2,000 direct and indirect jobs.