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Shuster Introduces Legislation to Bring Added Work to Letterkenny

WASHINGTON, DC Congressman Bill Shuster (R-Hollidaysburg) introduced H.R. 1916, the Patriot Inventory Protection Act on Wednesday. This legislation would prevent the Army from demilitarizing the MIM-104 Patriot Guidance Enhanced Missile TBM, or “GEM-T” missile that is a mainstay of the military’s medium-range missile defense inventory. The missile is also a key to the workload at Letterkenny Army Depot in Franklin County, and the legislation has the potential to bring major work to the depot for years to come.

Letterkenny’s primary mission is as the Army’s missile depot, and GEM-T is a large driver of the work that takes place there. Periodically, missiles in the Army’s inventory must be maintained to keep the system fielded, a process known as recertification, which is typically performed at Letterkenny. In 2013, however, the Army made a decision not to recertify its GEM-T missile inventory, threatening this workload.

Congressman Shuster opposes the decision by the Army not to recertify because it would result in a potentially critical shortfall for Patriot Missiles, but also because it would require the Army invest far more of the taxpayers’ dollars in another system. At an estimated $359,000 per GEM-T to recertify versus approximately $5 million to procure a new missile, the savings to the taxpayer are clear.

“Patriot missiles continue to be a key system for defending our military men and women, and Letterkenny plays a crucial role in keeping them in the field,” said Congressman Shuster. “This legislation is a smart way to keep Patriot ready to join the fight, and would allow Letterkenny to continue playing an essential role in performing work on the system. Nobody knows how to do this job better than the workforce at Letterkenny, with this legislation and a decision to recertify, they will have the opportunity to continue that job for years to come.”

The Patriot surface to air missile has been the linchpin of the United States Army and allied nations across the globe for years. Continually upgraded, it has been field-tested and proven over 1,400 times with the U.S. Army under real-world conditions.