Final public meeting held for input on missile defense site

CALHOUN COUNTY, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - The federal government is trying to determine if a new missile defense system would work at Fort Custer Training Center in Augusta.

The Department of Defense is looking at four locations across the country, including Fort Custer.

Thursday, the last public meeting was held for residents to address their concerns.

Congressman Fred Upton also toured the two possible sites at the training center Thursday evening.

Demonstrators stood outside the Great Hall at the Sherman Lake YMCA in Augusta, with a few quietly saying 'no' to a missile defense site at Fort Custer Training Center.

Inside, visitors looked at slides of what could be.

Lieutenant Colonel Chris Snipes tells Newschannel 3 any site would cost $3 to $4 billion.

"Any time an interceptor would be fired, would be in the nation's defense; there's no test firing whatsoever, the interceptor actually sits in the ground," Lt. Co. Snipes said. "They're dormant until they're needed and called upon for the nation's defense."

Four locations are contenders for a defense system, including Fort Custer Training Center, in Augusta; Camp Ravenna, in Ohio; Fort Drum in Fort Drum, New York; and Center for Security Forces Detatchment in Redington Township, Maine.

Those outside are concerned about the cost--a monumental waste of money that they say could be used in other areas.

Some are worried about being a target.

"We should be spending our money on social programs and not on this nonsense," said protester Jerry Berrigan.

We're told if a site is built, it could stay dormant forever, or one could not get chosen at all. But Congressman Fred Upton believes a system will be set up somewhere in the northeast or midwest with the possibility of bringing fifteen-hundred jobs.

"We look at North Korea, we look at Iran, we look at what ISIS has been doing the last couple of months, the monies that they have; where are we going to be 10-15 years out?" Rep. Upton said. "We have to be prepared."