Murkowski Disappointed in Air Force Decision Not to Base the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter at Eielson Air Force Base

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today issued the following statement after the Air Force made it known that Eielson Air Force Base has been removed from a short list of potential installations to base the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter:

“At this time last year Eielson was on a short list of six bases under consideration for the F-35. In fact, the Air Force had scheduled scoping meetings in the Interior in November 2008 to begin preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement on the possible basing of F-35s at Eielson Air Force Base. Those meetings never occurred. Today we learned that Eielson is not on the top of the heap for the F-35s but ranks in the middle third of all Air Force bases evaluated under a new set of criteria.

“I am deeply disappointed that the Air Force abandoned its previous short list, which was based on the priorities of its warfighting commanders, in favor of a new list, based upon a point scoring system of uncertain validity. Although the Air Force will not tell us precisely how Eielson scored until tomorrow, we will be protesting this decision to senior defense officials.

“I am at a loss to understand why Eielson moved from one of the six most promising bases for F-35 deployment to today’s position where some 65 Air Force Bases are deemed more promising. Our Interior Alaska community which has supported the Air Force through thick and thin with great enthusiasm deserves an explanation and it better be a good one.”

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