Alaska Delegation Seeks Answers on Reductions in U.S. Army Alaska Force Structure

In a letter to Secretary of the Army John McHugh, Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, and Congressman Don Young this week requested additional information and documentation relating to the Army’s recent decision to reduce Alaska force structure by 2,600 troops.

“In accordance with our Congressional responsibility to provide oversight, we request the documentation used by senior U.S. Army leadership to make this strategically short-sighted decision,” the delegation wrote. “In our view, the current threat environment and the location of those threats does not align with the U.S. Army’s decision to remove forces from Alaska.”

The Alaska congressional delegation reiterated its firm belief that a reduction in Alaska’s Army presence “would be a strategic blunder,” inconsistent with the diverse and complex national security threats in the Asia Pacific identified by senior defense officials.

“As a delegation, we share the concerns expressed by Generals Joe Dunford, Paul Selva, Mark Milley, and Robert Neller about Russia’s threat to U.S. national security,” the letter stated. “Unfortunately, we believe the U.S. Army failed to fully consider the importance of Alaska’s Army forces in countering Russian emergence as a leading threat, a fact stated by numerous senior Department of Defense leaders.”

Citing serious discrepancies in the methodology and modeling used in the U.S. Army’s Military Value Analysis (MVA) and the long-term strategic impacts of the decision, the Alaska delegation formally requested “all of the U.S. Army’s decision documents on these force structure decisions, including the entire MVA and the Total Army Analysis (TAA).”

“As you are aware, the 4-25 Airborne Bridge Combat Team (ABCT) can respond to most crisis areas in the Northern Hemisphere faster than anywhere else in the continental U.S.,” the letter says. “Additionally, we believe that Alaska is home to some of the world’s greatest, most abundant, topographically-challenging, and climate-diverse joint training areas.  However, it has come to our attention that Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER) scored in the bottom third of the U.S. Army’s Military Value Analysis (MVA).  Needless to say, this modeling perplexes us.”

In addition to requesting decision documents, the letter requests answers to an extensive list of questions to clarify the Army’s decision-making process and open the dialogue with senior Army officials on Alaska troops reductions.