Representative Don Young says it will be tough to turn around the Air Force’s planned move of an F-16 fighter jet squadron from Eielson to Joint base Elmendorf Richardson in Anchorage. The Air Force says transferring the squadron, which is used for training in areas near Eielson, will save money. Speaking in Fairbanks yesterday, Young echoed the message of Alaska Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich, saying the best tactic is to disprove the alleged cost savings.
The military is making similar moves across the country as it looks to trim the budget, and Young says Alaska does not have the clout of more populous states in the Lower 48 to fight back.
Young says another challenge is that the jets, and the over 1,000 service members and support personnel that go with them are being moved from one Alaska base to another, not out of state. There’s concern that the F-16 move is a first step toward closing Eielson, when there’s another round of Base Re-Alignment and Closure, but Young said he’s been assured by Chairman of the Military and Armed Services Committee Buck McKinnon there will not be a BRAC round during the next 4 years.
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