Alaska Senator Begich: More Information is Coming on Eielson Air Force Base
Three F-16 Fighting Falcons fly in formation over the Pacific Alaska Range Complex. Photo Courtesy: USAF
FAIRBANKS — Senator Mark Begich said he expects to receive more detailed information next week about Department of Defense plans to relocate an F-16 squadron from Eielson Air Force Base.
The update comes a month after the Alaska Democrat placed a hold on the promotion of an Air Force lieutenant general, along with a vow to stall all high-level military promotions until he received a detailed analysis of the move.
Begich said the hold remains in place — for now — but that he has been promised more information by May 31.
Begich met Tuesday with Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz, and said he was told a task force report about the proposed move will be available next week, including the potential costs and savings of relocating the squadron. Begich has complained about a lack of public information since the move to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson was proposed in February, saying the Air Force has given little justification for the move.
“We haven’t gotten the information that Alaska, and Fairbanks specifically, deserve,” Begich said.
Begich said Schwartz also asked him to remove a hold on the nomination of Lieutenant General Herbert Carlisle, who is being considered as the new commander of Pacific Air Forces. Begich said he’s not prepared to budge on that issue.
“I told him the hold doesn’t come off until I get the information,” Begich said. “That’s why the hold is there.”
The Air Force estimates that relocating the F-16 squadron to the Anchorage area will save $32 million over a five-year period, but hasn’t provided information that shows how those savings were tallied, according to members of Alaska’s congressional delegation.
The delegation has vigorously opposed the F-16 transfer, which is part of a proposed realignment that would affect 60 military installations throughout the U.S. Relocating the squadron would transfer roughly half of the 3,100 military and civilian jobs at Eielson. b
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