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Lawmakers Push Ravenna As Best Location for East Coast Missile Defense Site

Camp Garfield, formerly known as Camp Ravenna, is a Joint Military Training Center.

Ohio's congressional delegation is again asking the Defense Department to locate an intercontinental missile defense site in Northeast Ohio. 

Camp James A. Garfield – straddling Portage and Trumbull counties -- is one of three proposed east coast missile defense sites. The others are in New York and Michigan. Rep. Anthony Gonalez (R-16th Congressional District) was among those signing a letter to the acting secretary of defense.  

"When you look at things like the Lordstown plant shutting down, in my head, I thought, hey we need something else, we need to get excited about a new project here," Gonzalez said. 

Gonzalez said the project would support 2,300 jobs. He expects the Pentagon to make a decision in the next few weeks. But Ian Williams thinks that's a bit soon. He studies missile defense at the Center for Strategic & International Studies.

"If the decision is going to be made any time soon, it's going to have to be Congress that pushes it," Williams said. 

Williams said the $9 billion budget for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency is already stretched, so it may delay spending on launch sites unless Congress and the President come through with a mandate and funding to match. 

Senator Sherrod Brown said lawmakers are concerned the president plans to take money away from military projects and use it for a wall at the southern border. A number of projects at Ohio military installations, including Camp Garfield, could lose funding if the plan goes through.

He and other lawmakers are speaking out against that as they push for the missile project at Camp Garfield. 

Sen. Brown says there is a bipartisan effort to have the East Coast Missile Defense site located at Camp Garfield in Ravenna.

“Senator Portman and I are bipartisanly working to make that happen, don’t know what’s going to happen at this point. But I do know that if the president takes money from some of these projects, it undermines our effort.”