Murkowski: F-35 Announcement Cements Alaska’s Military Importance

Senator Touts State’s Tactical Advantage

Senator Lisa Murkowski today responded to the United States Air Force’s announcement that both Eielson Air Force Base and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson are being considered as potential home bases for F-35s, saying:

“In the 21stcentury, Alaska is prime military real estate: we have the skies, we have the community support and we reside on the frontlines of the Asia-Pacific region, overlooking the emerging threats from the West.  Today’s announcement only cements the fact that the Last Frontier is a prime component of our nation’s defense.

“In the Interior, the Eielson and Fairbanks community are ready to go full throttle for the F-35s with their location and range space, while JBER and Anchorage present clear positives as well from a military perspective.  Though issues about the Anchorage area were raised when the Pentagon considered placing F-16s at JBER, I am certain those will be objectively evaluate during this next site visit phase in March.

“Today is a first step towards the F-35s in Alaska, and a positive step that leaves no doubt about the ultimate takeaway: Alaska clearly is the crown jewel of the nation’s defense.”

The United States Air Force will now conduct site visits of the candidate bases to evaluate and compare their viability against one another – with an announcement of “preferred” and “reasonable alternative” bases beginning on March 10 and concluding in April or May.  Once those finalists are determined, environmental impact studies will be done along with host nation consultation in the cases of bases located in foreign countries.