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Murkowski Statement on Pentagon Cuts

Senator Stresses Alaskan Role in “Leaner, Meaner” Era

WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Obama today introduced a new strategy for American forces that could involve significant reductions in Army force structure, changes in military pay, benefits and retirement, and major changes in weapons system procurement.  Senator Murkowski had the following reaction to his remarks:

“We are entering a new era for the American military – both in mindset but also in resources.  As we rethink our military spending and prepare to meet 21st Century challenges, we need to proceed intelligently to build a leaner, meaner force.

“Some aspects of this shift could be positive. The strategy indicates a new Asia-Pacific region focus, where Alaska holds a significant geographic advantage. There is also an interest in building a more agile, quickly deployable force – just the role Alaskan troops have been positioning themselves to fill.  Additionally, the vision includes new efforts to strengthen our allies’ military prowess.  Alaska is a leader in this area as well.  Air Forces from around the world find the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex and Eielson Air Force Base great places to train.

“Some other aspects of the strategy require a closer look. Can a downsized military really regroup if there is a sudden demand for a larger number of ground troops? Will future military pay, benefits and retirement be sufficient to maintain recruitment and retention targets as the US economy improves? Will the defense budget keep commitments to military retirees?

“These are the questions that need to be asked, and will be highlighted in upcoming hearings of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee – where I look forward to getting answers for Alaskans from the Pentagon.”

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