OUR VIEW: Missile defense site would be boost for Portage

Camp Ravenna site touted, but many questions remain unresolved

Published:

Whether Portage CounTY

will become the site of a defensive missile base, a project that could cost billions, is a question that is a long way from being answered, but locating the facility at Camp Ravenna "has a lot of advantages," according the Sen. Rob Portman, who toured the proposed site this week.

Ohio's junior senator noted a number of pluses the eastern Portage County site has to offer: It is federally owned, so no land acquisition would be involved; it is close to manufacturing and research facilities, which could provide support during construction of the base; and it also is near railroads and other infrastructure. All could be points in favor of locating the base at the former Army ammunition facility known as the Ravenna Arsenal.

Portman has reaffirmed his support for the Camp Ravenna location. The Portage County site also is being touted by Ohio's other senator, Sherrod Brown, as well as U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan.

If the site is chosen for the facility, it would be the largest federal investment in Portage County since the advent of the Ravenna Arsenal nearly 75 years ago. The potential economic impact could be enormous and, unlike the arsenal project, which saw the displacement of families that had farmed that area for generations, there would be minimal disruption involved.

The Camp Ravenna site is one of five proposed for the new ground-based Midcourse Defense missile defense system. There are two active missile interceptor sites in operation, in Alaska and California. All of the sites under consideration for a potential third site are located in the eastern United States.

According to Portman, the list of proposed sites will be narrowed to "at least three" by the end of the year. The finalists will undergo environmental assessments that could take up to two years.

Even then, there is no guarantee that the interceptor site will be built. The Pentagon has not requested funding for it, nor has a final decision been made on proceeding with it. The site selection process appears to be a preliminary stage, at best.

While the defense system seems a bit reminiscent of the so-called "Star Wars" system proposed during the Reagan era 30 years ago, Portman cites "the threat from North Korea and the increasing threat from Iran" as reasons for improving our missile defense capability.

Debating that point is something we will leave to others. From our vantage point, if the base actually is built, whoever lands it stands to reap an enormous investment of federal dollars, which will translate into a major economic boost for the surrounding area. We're all for that.

Want to leave your comments?

Sign in or Register to comment.

  • Anybody wonder what gets targeted first in attacks? A nuclear strike will do Ravenna a lot of good, now won't it?

  • Currently that huge property produces no Tax $ for Portage County. It would be great if it produced some good jobs!

  • "While the defense system seems a bit reminiscent of the so-called "Star Wars" system proposed during the Reagan era 30 years ago, Portman cites "the threat from North Korea and the increasing threat from Iran" as reasons for improving our missile defense capability"

    Please stop.

    Yes, if this thing is going to be built it would suit me to have it at the Arsenal.

    In reality this is political pandering.

    .