Alaska Delegation Continues to Promote Strategic Buildup of Interior Alaska

Missile Defense Agency Picks LRDR Contractor, Delegation Submits F-35 EIS Comments

The Alaska Congressional Delegation today welcomed news from the Missile Defense Agency that they have awarded a $784,289,883 contract to Lockheed Martin to build the Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR). The contract specifies that the work is to be done at Clear Air Force Station, Alaska as well as Lockheed Martin’s facility in New Jersey. The LRDR is a critical MDA project which will substantially improve our nation's Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) capabilities. The LRDR will provide persistent coverage and improve discrimination capabilities against threats to the homeland from the Pacific theater. Over the next five years, Alaska can expect to see approximately $285 million dollars in military construction to build the LRDR.

“The ballistic missile threat to our country is real and it is rapidly growing,” said the Alaska Congressional Delegation“A recent Johns Hopkins University report stated that by 2020, North Korea could have as many as 100 nuclear weapons. Today’s news to award the LRDR is a vital step toward advancing our nation’s missile defense program and it once again highlights how strategic Alaska’s location really is.”

In addition to the LRDR announcement, the Alaska Congressional Delegation recently submitted comments to the U.S. Air Force at the close of their public comment period supporting the proposed alternative for the F-35A Operational Beddown-Pacific at Eielson Air Force Base. In March of this year, the U.S. Air Force announced its initiation of the EIS process.

“In an effort to support the U.S Air Force’s Strategic Basing of the OCONUS F-35A in Alaska, provisions were included in both the House and Senate-passed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016. These provisions expressed the Sense of Congress that Secretary of the Air Force should consider strategically significant criteria when basing the OCONUS F-35A,” the delegation wrote.

“Recent events have also reinforced Alaska’s strategic importance. In Cold War-like fashion, Russia has dramatically increased its arctic-based military presence, creating a new Northern Command, reopening numerous former Soviet air and sea bases, building new ice breakers, and forming four new combat brigades in the Arctic. In fact, according to testimony given earlier this year by Admiral William Gortney, commander of U.S. Northern Command, ‘Russian heavy bombers flew more out-of-area patrols in 2014 than in any year since the Cold War,’” the letter stated. 

The delegation concluded, “The decision to base two squadrons of F-35A JSFs at Eielson AFB is a win-win-win. A win for national security; a win for Interior Alaska. And it is a win for our airmen who will have the opportunity to work and train in the best military community in all of the United States.”

The Final draft of the EIS is expected to be distributed in late January of 2016, and the final record of decision is expected during the Spring of 2016.

The full letter is attached.