Feds Auction Off $500 Million Anti-Ballistic Missile Base in Operation for Less Than a Day

November 1, 2012 - 5:32 PM

anti-ballistic missile

Stanley R. Mickelsen Safeguard Complex (Courtesy GSA)

(CNSNews.com) – The U.S. General Services Administration announced it is taking bids on the Stanley R. Mickelsen Safeguard Complex in Nekoma, North Dakota – an anti-ballistic missile site that cost $500 million to build in 1975 and officially operated for less than 24 hours.

Fort Bliss Historical Architect Russ Sackett wrote about the complex in his Cold War report, including that it was developed according to the Strategic Arm Limitation I treaty the United States signed with the Soviet Union.

“It became fully operational on October 1, 1975 with 70 Sprint and 30 Spartan missiles,” Sackett wrote, noting earlier in the report (page 1) that the cost of the project was $500 million. “Graduates of the Safeguard Training Program were relocated from the Fort Bliss training facility to operate this site.

“On October 2, 1975, U.S. Congress deactivated the Mickelsen Site and ended the Safeguard program and need for training stating that the system was too costly and ineffective against new USSR weapons.

“The Safeguard Site was fully operational for less than 24 hours,” Sackett wrote.

“GSA’s mission is to make the government more efficient and to save money,” said Sylvia Hernandez, acting regional administrator for GSA’s Greater Southwest region. “Part of that mission is to effectively manage our real estate assets and dispose of underutilized properties so we can save taxpayer dollars.”

John Hamilton, chief inspector for the Fort Bliss Inspector General, told CNSNews.com that the complex “in practice” operated in some capacity for about four months but said its preparation was extremely costly at the time.

According to GSA, the complex is located on 600 acres in North Dakota spanning Cavalier, Ramsey and Walsh counties. The announcement notes that the missile site radar building or “the pyramid” is the “focal point of the MSR (missile site radar) site.”

The complex consists of approximately 431 acres, including about 201 acres of vacant land that includes a chapel, community center, and a 258,000 square-foot office building.

The complex also contains four “Remote Site Launch” sites.

“Each site offers 35-40 acres that include an access sentry station, remote launch operations building and sprint missile stations,” according to the press release.

“All missiles have been removed from the site and the missile silos are closed,” the press release notes.

According to the Space and Missile Defense Command, the SRMSC was authorized by Congress in 1969 and construction began in 1970. The complex was named after Stanley Mickelsen, a former commanding general of the Army Air Defense Command.

“This sale represents a unique opportunity to acquire a ‘piece of history,’” the GSA press release states.

A bidding deposit of $20,000 is required to take part in the auction, according to GSA’s auction website.

When adjusted for inflation, the cost of the complex today would be more than $2 billion.