Murkowski: U.S. Air Force “Inconsistent,” Urges Alaska as KC-46 Home

Senator Tells Brass Locating Aerial Fuelers in Alaska Reinforces “Agile, Flexible and Ready” Mission

Senator Lisa Murkowski continued promoting the importance of Eielson Air Force Base and Alaska through a letter to the Secretary and Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force – expressing concern that the Pentagon presently does not plan to base a KC-46 aerial refueler unit in Alaska.  In the letter (attached), Murkowski suggests that not leveraging Alaska’s unique geographic advantages contradicts the Secretary of Defense’s new strategic vision focusing on the Asia Pacific theater.

Murkowski’s letter points out that none of the first round of KC-46s and only one eventually will be Outside the Continental United States (OCONUS) in Hawaii -- and finds this inconsistent with the Secretary of Defense’s Strategic Planning Guidance released in January. She writes:

“It is my view that the new technology and capability brought to the table by the KC-46A should be placed at the forward edge where its use can be maximized.  Siting a single KC-46A unit in the Pacific does not achieve this goal.  I firmly believe it is out of step with the President’s guidance, which clearly emphasizes an Asia-Pacific focus. Alaska has bases that provide a unique geography that afford the United States military the flexibility other bases cannot.”