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Murkowski Locks In “Strategic Pause” For Eielson AFB Moves

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski and the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee approved the 2013 defense appropriations bill today – including key language mandating a “strategic pause” for the proposed move of F-16 Aggressors and over 600 airmen from Eielson Air Force Base. 

In her remarks leading up to adoption of the bill, she took the opportunity to criticize the proposal and the way it was handled on behalf of Fairbanksans:

“I think it takes a certain amount of audacity if you will to pull something off without congressional consultation and without a BRAC round. It takes some audacity to tell a base that has been around for 88 years that they will have to close three schools practically overnight, that their real estate values are in the tank practically overnight, one third of their economy in the area down – practically overnight. I think it was a blunder of the highest magnitude.”  (Click here for audio)

The bill heads to the full Senate Appropriations Committee for approval Thursday and includes the following provision that applies to Eielson AFB and all other Air Force unilateral moves:

·        Strategic Pause for Air Force Force Structure Consistent with the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, as reported by the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Committee endorses a one-year strategic pause for Air Force force structure adjustments.  The bill directs the use of existing funds for procurements of the C-27 Spartan and the RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 30, and adds more than $800 million to sustain current force structure, including equipment, personnel, and operations.

The House of Representatives has already passed its FY13 defense appropriations bill and it contains no language or provisions that will conflict with this one-year freeze.

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