Murkowski, Begich File Legislation Prohibiting F-16 Move

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senators Murkowski and Begich today introduced legislation (attached) in the U.S. Senate that would expressly bar the United States Air Force from planning or executing the relocation of F-16s from Eielson Air Force Base to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson – and requires that just as many, if not more, F-16s are based at Eielson this September.

Alaska’s entire Congressional Delegation will be sitting down with U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz on Thursday, to further discuss the Air Force’s plan and question the reasoning.

The Senators issued the following statements after filing the bill:

Senator Lisa Murkowski:

“This is déjà vu all over again, reminding me of the Air Force’s BRAC proposal for Eielson in 2005.  Back then, Alaskans made the case that the Air Force wouldn’t achieve any savings by attempting a move.  7 years later, I remain unconvinced that moving existing units from one part of Alaska to another is an efficient or effective way of cost-cutting.  I want the Air Force to show me its math.”

Senator Mark Begich:

“Moving F-16s from Eielson Air Force base to Anchorage will neither save money nor make our military stronger. If military leaders try to end-run the formal base-closing process with this piecemeal approach, I will do whatever I can through my position on the Senate Armed Services Committee to stop it. I’ll work with community leaders to demonstrate this is not the right decision and keeping these fighter jets at Eielson makes strategic and economic sense. If we have to stop it through legislation, that’s what we’ll do.”