Murkowski Drills Down on Eielson Savings Claim
United States Air Force Admits It Needs to Take "Broader Look" in Site Survey
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski today pressed United States Air Force officials about the methods and reasoning being relied upon in its proposal to move the F-16 Aggressor Squadron from Eielson Air Force Base to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. During a hearing of the Senate Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee, Murkowski asked what data has changed since the Pentagon’s attempted BRAC of Eielson in 2005 and received assurance that the USAF will take a “broader look” than planned in their site survey.
In a brisk exchange, Murkowski asked the USAF Undersecretary for Installations and Environment how the data being used to justify this latest proposal is different from the numbers in the 2005 Eielson BRAC attempt that was vetoed by the BRAC commission after review.
Neither the Undersecretary nor the Deputy Assistant Secretary beside him had an answer to that question, but the two indicated they would provide one in upcoming days. Senator Murkowski responded “we are looking at this and saying this is exactly the same exercise we saw in 2005 … so I am trying to drill down and discern whether there is something new we have learned.”
Senator Murkowski then followed up by trying to determine precisely what the United States Air Force will be examining in the upcoming site survey of Eielson Air Force Base – pointing out the “ambiguity” surrounding the Air Force’s plan. “Some think that is an effort to validate the short term and the long term plans for Eielson,” she noted. “While others say that it is simply to figure out how to … move the Aggressors from there to JBER.”
The Undersecretary responded, “based on your comments and observations it seems prudent to me that we take a broader look and I am going to have that conversation with the folks out at Pacific Air Command.”
Senator Murkowski also recommended the Air Force consult with the Mayor of the Fairbanks North Star Borough – a request she has made in a letter – and plans to follow up on the issue.