Billion dollar military radar for Oahu draws critics

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The military wants to build a billion-dollar radar either on West Oahu or the North Shore. The proposal is drawing critics who say it’s not necessary and the facility will desecrate more land in Hawaii.

The military says the radar will bring an extra layer of security against nuclear missiles. Critics are expecting a protest as large as the one at Mauna Kea.

The proposal for the Homeland Defense Radar-Hawaii (HDR-H) is looking to build the facility either next to the Kaena Point Satellite Tracking Station, in West Oahu, or in Kahuku. It calls for a radar station that is eight stories tall and eight stories wide, and occupy 160 acres of land. The preliminary Environmental Impact Statements says:

“The purpose of the Proposed Action is to support the United States ballistic missile defense system and enhance homeland defense capabilities in the Pacific region including Hawaii… The HDR-H project is a critical capability required by the U.S. Northern Command.”

Critics point out that there are multiple heiau (sacred temples) in the area, and they question the effectiveness of the radar.

“Missile defense does not work. It is fundamentally flawed, so putting this giant project on a sacred mountain will not protect Hawaii,” said Lynda Williams, a Physics professor and peace activist.

“The union of atomic scientists says this system is a big waste of money. First, it’s never been proven that it will even work. There have been no tests on the system itself,” said Ann Wright. She’s a retired colonel who spent 29 years in the military. She points out there are other radar facilities at the Pacific Missile Range on Kauai, in California, and the Marshall Islands.

“I think we’re doing a little overkill on this thing and that’s coming from somebody that’s been in the government virtually all my adult life,” she said.

Congressional delegates support the radar. Sen. Maize Hirono says, “Hawaii sits in a strategically important location in the Pacific. The threats we face are real, and it’s important we be prepared to confront them.”

Congressman Ed Case says, “The defense of our country and Hawai’i must always be among our top priorities… we must ensure that Hawai’i hosts the best possible radar system to identify, track, classify and deter long-range ballistic missile and related threats.”

A spokeswoman for the military says she is unable to comment at this point. But officials will answer questions about the radar during the Waianae neighborhood board meeting on Thursday.

Lynda Williams will be giving a talk on the subject Sunday night at Nanaikapono Elementary School from 6:00-9:00.

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