Delegation Doubles Down on Army Alaska Troop Levels

Lawmakers: “Sound Military Strategy Demands” More Army Troops for Alaska, Not Fewer

On the heels of two supportive and spirited United States Army listening sessions in Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska’s Congressional Delegation is sending a message to the military: given current global volatility, not only should Alaska hold onto current troops, the state should be considered for more.

The United States Army is currently undergoing a national survey of thirty U.S. Army bases for potential troop reductions, and recently remarked on the tremendous turnout from Alaskans in support of both Fort Wainwright in the Interior and Fort Richardson in Alaska – including words from Senators Murkowski and Sullivan and Congressman Don Young.

In their letter to the Secretary of the Army John McHugh and Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno (attached), Alaska’s lawmakers write:

Ultimately though, the difficult force structure decisions which may be ahead should not rely on the popularity of the Army presence in a particular community or the number of people who attended a particular listening session. Military strategy remains the key determinant of where the Army should base. Alaska’s geographic proximity, over the pole from most of the world’s conflict zones, is the principal reason military planners have long regarded Alaska as a highly desirable – if not necessary – forward base for US power projection. Recent developments in Asia, the Pacific and Russia have done nothing to weaken that argument …

Bolstering the point further, the delegation pointed out the recent news that Russia is militarizing their Arctic presence with four military brigades:

These recent developments represent significantly changed circumstances from those that existed when the Army first considered a list of Brigade Combat Teams for possible elimination in force structure reductions. Instead of reducing the Army presence, in Alaska we would suggest that the Army should consider increasing that presence in the coming years. Sound military strategy demands no less.