KTUU: Senators Sullivan and Murkowski commend the Air Force’s Arctic Strategy

Senators Sullivan and Murkowski are expressing their approval of the Air Force’s Arctic Strategy.

The strategy “lays out an expansion of the competitive space in the Arctic under four lines of effort: vigilance in all domains, projecting power through a combat-credible force, cooperation with allies & partners, and preparation for Arctic operations. Importantly, this strategy also emphasizes continued work and collaboration with Alaska Native communities,” said Sullivan’s office in a press release.

“I applaud and commend the Air Force and Secretary Barbara Barrett for their leadership in developing the most robust Arctic strategy yet. This strategy is a testament to the Air Force’s enduring commitment to Alaska, which dates back more than 100 years when the father of the Air Force, Billy Mitchell, called Alaska the most strategic place in the world,” said Senator Sullivan.

According to the Air Force’s Arctic Strategy, ”the Department of the Air Force provides close to 80 percent of DoD resourcing to the Arctic region. Installations across Alaska, Canada, and Greenland include large bases, training complexes, satellite command and control stations, and a constellation of more than 50 early warning and missile defense radars.”

Also: With two large Alaska air bases, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and Eielson Air Force Base (AFB), and other strategic facilities, the Air and Space Forces project power into two critical theaters: Indo-Pacific and Europe.

Often unrecognized, Alaska offers the quickest flight access to strategic locations across the Pacific region and western Russia. As evidence of Alaska’s strategic location, once the planned F-35 bed-down is complete, Alaska will be home to more advanced fighters than any other location in the world.

“This is also one of the first Arctic strategies to highlight that it is the indigenous people who reside in Arctic communities that have the knowledge and skills about the region to help Air and Space Forces to better understand the Arctic environment. I would like to specifically applaud Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett for highlighting indigenous communities and harnessing their knowledge to enrich exercises for our military and allied partners as well as to enhance our national strategic interests. My sincere thanks to all that contributed to developing this Arctic Strategy for their involvement to advancing America’s interests in the Arctic and the world, " said Senator Murkowski. 

The words from both Alaska Senators come a day shy of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo making remarks about the Arctic while in Denmark. According to the Associated Press, Pompeo says the United States will become more active in the Arctic to counter growing Russian influence and to thwart attempts by China to insert itself into the region.

Source: Gilbert Cordova

Related Issues: Arctic, Defense