AK Delegation: F-35 Decision Will Trigger Economic Boom for Interior Alaska
Strategic Location Brings Military Investment to the State The Alaska Congressional Delegation applauded the Air Force’s publication of the final Environmental Impact Study (EIS) regarding the beddown of two squadrons of F-35s to be based at Eielson Air Force Base. Publication of the EIS is a necessary step toward a final Air Force decision on where to base the first F-35As in the Pacific Theatre. The study assesses whether the Air Force can locate the F-35 squadrons at Eielson, and a final “Record of Decision” will be announced in approximately 30 days.
The EIS contains data about the effects of the F-35 beddown at Eielson, including that it could bring up 54 new aircraft and 2,765 additional residents to Interior Alaska. Construction activity associated with the siting of the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter is expected to create a total of 2,339 new jobs and generate $453.4 million in economic output over the next four years.
The entire Environmental Impact Statement can be found here.
“The military value of Eielson Air Force Base is ever-increasing, given the rogue and unpredictable threats emerging to our west and in the Arctic. Bringing the F-35s to the Interior, coupled with increased Army and Missile Defense Agency activity, also creates the foundation for long term economic stability,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski. “As we grapple with uncertainties about Alaska’s economic future, the defense buildup could not be more welcome news. For years, I’ve been urging Air Force leaders to strongly consider basing the F-35s at Eielson because of our strategic military location, and I’m happy to see that we are one step closer to this becoming a reality.”
“The release of the Final EIS for the F-35A beddown at Eielson Air Force Base is another important step in the process of bringing 48 F-35s to Alaska, as is the nearly $300 million in military construction associated with the beddown in this year’s President’s budget request,” said Senator Dan Sullivan. “Not only will the addition of these 48 5th Generation aircrafts continue to reaffirm Alaska’s highly strategic location, but it also signifies – along with JBER’s 48 F-22s – that Alaska is rapidly becoming a hub of combat airpower for the U.S. Air Force and nation.”
“I have long supported bringing the F-35s to Eielson, not only for the positive economic impacts it will bring to our state, but for the critical mission the F-35s will support. No other location in the world offers the strategic value offered in Alaska, and the Air Force has recognized that. This beddown works to protect our national security, accomplishes a mission achieved nowhere else in the world, and ensures the Air Force and nation have the assets and capabilities available in any time of need,” said Congressman Don Young. “I’m proud to have played a role in this process, having secured language in each of the last two National Defense Authorization Acts that emphasized Alaska’s immense military value and the benefits Eielson offers the Air Force. I thank both Senator Lisa Murkowski and Senator Dan Sullivan for the united effort we have made to ensure the Air Force understands that there is no better location in the Asia-Pacific Region to base these F-35s.”