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Doheny chides Owens for ‘wait-and-see’ approach to missile site

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Matthew A. Doheny doesn’t think Congress should take a wait-and-see approach on bringing a missile defense site to Fort Drum and is criticizing his Nov. 6 opponent for doing just that.

“If a guy like (former Rep.) David Martin wasn’t proactive, I’m not sure we’d have Fort Drum in the first place,” Mr. Doheny said.

“You can’t wait around for studies,” he said.

Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, has said that he wants to hear from military leaders about the proposal to bring a missile defense site to the eastern seaboard, with Fort Drum as a potential location.

He said top military brass are divided on whether the eastern seaboard needs a missile defense site.

“There’s apparently mixed opinions in senior military ranks,” said Mr. Owens, a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

“I supported funding the study of whether it was necessary,” he said

The missile defense site, which Republicans have eagerly pushed to approve over objections from some Pentagon officials, is designed to protect America against missile attacks from North Korea and Iran, according to an Associated Press story published in May. It could cost $3.6 billion, Mr. Owens has said.

If military leaders agree it’s necessary and it won’t interfere with the 10th Mountain Division’s mission, Mr. Owens said he would support it.

Mr. Doheny chided Mr. Owens for voting against a bill that would implement the project, but Mr. Owens said that was merely a reflection of his desire to study the issue more.

Mr. Owens also voted to cut $75 million from the missile defense program, an amendment that failed last week.

The $75 million cut wouldn’t have affected Fort Drum’s chances of securing a missile defense site, Mr. Owens said; the cuts would have taken place before the study was even set to be finished in December 2013.

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