Delegation Pushes USAF to Transfer German-Based F-16s to Eielson

Lawmakers Send Letter to Air Force Secretary Making Their Case

WASHINGTON, DC – On the eve of the final day of the United States Air Force’s comment period regarding its proposal to move the F-16 Aggressor Squadron from Eielson Air Force Base to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska’s Congressional Delegation today made their final argument for making Eielson AFB more robust, not less, as the Pentagon shifts its focus to the nearby Asia Pacific region – supporting Governor Sean Parnell’s suggestion earlier this month.

In a letter to Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark A. Walsh III, the delegation make their case that rather than move F-16s away from Eielson, it would be more consistent with the administration’s new national defense strategy which calls for a strategic rebalance of defense resources to Asia and the Pacific. They also explain how their approach would be more cost-effective than the Eielson move, which the USAF admits will cost $5.6 million in its first year alone.

A few of the points made by the delegation in the letter (attached) are that this proposal:

  • Reduces costs to the Air Force by reducing overseas basing costs in Germany.
  • Provides the flexibility for the Air Force to readily deploy the Germany based F-16s to deploy to the Pacific or to Europe quickly as needed, given Eielson’s geographically superior location near the top of the globe.
  • Mitigates the socioeconomic impacts on Fairbanks resulting from warm basing Eielson.
  • Enhances training by relocating the Spangdahlem F-16 aircraft in proximity to the world-class Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex and its unencroached training airspace.
  • Reduces the costs of overseas basing by placing Spangdahlem in a warm base status while retaining a Forward Operating Location presence to support US Air Force Europe air mobility requirements.  This would also be consistent with the position of the Secretary of Defense with regard to reducing overseas infrastructure costs.

# # #