The Department of Defense awarded a contract worth nearly $5 million to a Point Hope Native corporation to prepare Fort Greely to become a national missile defense test site.

The award is the most concrete step yet in transforming the shuttered base outside Delta Junction into the eventual core of the Pentagon's desired missile shield.

The Army Corps of Engineers awarded the site preparation contract Friday to Aglaq Construction Enterprises, a subsidiary of Tikigaq Native Corp. Aglaq will subcontract with a Fairbanks firm, Brice Inc.

The contract calls for the company to clear trees to allow for the future installation of interceptor missile silos, build a main access road, drill two water wells, and conduct other work, including soil excavation and grading.