Murkowski Eielson Delay Gets Final Passage in Senate

Defense Bill Includes Construction Work, Greely Repairs, Pay Raise for Military

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski today joined 97 of her colleagues in passing S.3254, the Defense Authorization Bill, on a bipartisan and unanimous basis.  A key amendment proposed by Senator Murkowski and included in the final bill would delay for a year any structure movement like the F-16 Aggressor Squadron transfer being considered by the U.S. Air Force.

“I thank the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Service Committee for accepting my amendment to delay the proposed F-16 move an extra year,” said Murkowski.  “When the Air Force released their proposal, I encouraged them to go back to the drawing board: evaluate the mass relocation involved more thoroughly than just web surfing Craigslist; consider the already-crowded airspace surrounding J-BER, and the risk of volcanic activity shutting down air traffic in Anchorage, and answer why the military – as it shifts its focus to the Asia-Pacific – is considering downgrading a facility so close to our main operating area.  My amendment will let them do their homework, and let us continue to make our case as Alaskans.”

The amendment (Murkowski amendment #3135) essentially scratched the deadline for the newly-created “National Commission for the Structure of the Air Force” from March 31, 2013 and substituted March 31, 2014 instead.  But that one year added could mean a lot for Alaska’s military capability and the Fairbanks community.

Other Alaska-related items in the Defense bill, which now heads to a Committee Conference:

  • Pay Raise: Members of the military will see a 1.7 percent pay raise for the next year.
  • Fort Greely Operations: The bill supports continued operations at the Ground Based Missile Defense system at Fort Greely – placing a high priority on correcting past technical issues with the system.
  • Military Construction: The bill slots $18.3 million for two Alaskan Army program projects: Modified Record Fire Ranges for Fort Richardson and Fort Wainwright.
  • Easier Adoption of Retired Service Dogs:  Allows for streamlined adoption of Military Working Dogs (MWDs) – the canines who smell out for dangerous improvised explosive devices in war-torn regions – upon returning back to America.

(Murkowski proposes Eielson amendments to Defense Bill, 11/30/12 - CLICK image to watch)