Measure would retain Fort Greely
FAIRBANKS - A bill headed for the U.S. Senate floor on Monday contains a provision that would allow the secretary of Defense to retain Fort Greely so the post can be used for missile defense.
The language is in the Senate version of the supplemental spending bill for this fiscal year.
The official end of Fort Greely's downsizing comes on Friday, the result of a closing process that started in 1995.
The Senate language appears to be a hedge against the post being disposed of in such a way that would prevent its use for a national missile defense site.
The House version of the supplemental bill, passed June 20, does not contain the language. Nor did the version submitted by President Bush, according to Pentagon spokeswoman Susan Hansen.
Defense Department officials have said they want to eventually locate defensive missiles at Fort Greely as part of a system designed to shoot down any ballistic missiles launched from other countries against the United States.
Lt. Col. Rick Lehner, spokesman for the Defense Department's Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, said he had seen the language in the supplemental bill. He said it appears to keep the military's options open with regard to the post.