The Air Force released its report Thursday. It outlines the impacts of relocating the F-16 Aggressor Squadron from Eielson Air Force Base. Alaska’s congressional Delegation says the report leaves much to be desired.
It is going to cost the military over $5.5 million to relocate Eielson’s F-16s and that doesn’t include the money it will take for construction at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson or moving expenses for 542 military personnel and their families. Alaska Senator Mark Begich says he didn’t have high expectations for the report.
“The good news is we at least got a base report to start from but clearly some more questions to be answered,” Begich said.
Over the next five years, the Air Force estimates the relocation will save roughly $227 million. According to the 46-page report, that’s in line with the 2011 Budget Control Act, which calls for a total defense budget reduction of more than a trillion dollars over 10 years. But Senator Begich doesn’t think those numbers are reliable.
“In their discussion they talk about how it’s not even validated that year. Well last week I was told by the chief of staff to the Air Force it’s $80 million a year,” Begich said.
As a member of the Senate Armed Service Committee, Senator Begich added an amendment last week to the National Defense spending bill that places a one-year moratorium on any action that reduces the civilian workforce on military bases. Begich is calling on the Air Force to invest another year in evaluating the relocation.
“There in their discussion they talk about how it’s not even validated that year. I don’t even have faith in that. And if you think about it, $227 million, well that’s about $40 million a year. Well last week I was told by the chief of staff to the Air Force it’s 80 million a year,” Begich said.
With a list of other questions, Senator Begich says he will continue to hold the promotion of a four star general until the Air Force responds.