Murkowski Releases Statement Ahead of Defense Secretary’s Visit to Alaska

Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan were scheduled to join Secretary of Defense Ash Carter as he visits Alaska today, but are unable to attend the events at Fort Wainwright due to mechanical difficulties with their assigned military aircraft.

Senator Murkowski released the following statement on the Secretary’s visit to Fort Wainwright:

“Whether due to our strategic location, unique training opportunities, or quality of life, Alaska is the best place in the entire United States for our troops to serve, and I look forward to Secretary Carter experiencing that firsthand.

“The Department of Defense is increasing its investment in Alaska—from the two squadrons of F-35s to be stationed at Eielson Air Force Base; to the $784 million construction of the Long Range Discrimination Radar at Clear Air Force Station; to the Apache attack helicopters and Gray Eagle Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, both to be stationed at Fort Wainwright.

“But despite all of the good news we’ve been hearing from the military, I still believe that the Army’s proposal to reduce 2,600 troops from Fort Richardson in Anchorage is short-sighted and irresponsible. The Alaska Congressional Delegation has received commitments from the Army that this decision will be revisited before the reductions are set to begin in October 2016. As Secretary Carter visits Fort Wainwright, I hope he will come away with a stronger appreciation of the acute need to build up our military capabilities in the Arctic and the value that Alaska-based troops contribute to U.S. national security goals in the Pacific.

“It is going to be important to do follow-up with the Secretary after his visit. He must recognize that the Alaska delegation stands strong, committed, and united in protecting the national security interests in Alaska. We have serious issues to discuss not only with the Secretary of Defense, but with so many of our military leaders, and I look forward to doing just that.”

(Click image to watch video of Senator Murkowski discussing Secretary Carter’s visit to Fort Wainwright.)