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Murkowski Argues Case Against Eielson Proposal to Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski today reached out to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey regarding the U.S. Air Force proposal to move the F-16 Aggressor squadron – within days of him testifying he will become personally involved – outlining the many flaws and incorrect presumptions contained within the plan.  Murkowski also informed him that she supports the ideas laid out in a recent letter to the Pentagon from Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) that would halt implementation of any U.S. Air Force proposed force structure changes during FY2013.

Murkowski writes, “Subsequent to our conversation last week, I learned that Chairman Levin had written [United States Air Force Chief of Staff] General Schwartz to urge in the strongest possible terms that the Air Force not implement any of its proposed force structure changes until the beginning of Fiscal Year 2014 at the earliest in order to … to review a study on the future structure of the Air Force.”

In addition to her support for Levin’s proposal, Senator Murkowski laid out her reasoning for opposing the F-16 Aggressor Squadron transfer, “As each day passes it becomes clearer to me that the Air Force’s decision to move the F-16 Aggressor Squadron away from Eielson Air Force Base in 2013 was the first step in a poorly conceived plan to force the downsizing of the base in 2015 – a plan disturbingly similar to that rejected by the 2005 BRAC Commission.”

Murkowski also pointed out the financial implications of the proposal, in addition to the impact such a move could have on school districts in the Fairbanks North Star Borough as well as the Anchorage and Mat-Su areas.

Murkowski concludes by sharing with General Dempsey that the proposal will not save money but cost millions in FY13.  “The Air Force now concedes that implementation of this move will cost the taxpayers at least $5.65M in unprogrammed cost in FY13 and it should be obvious why the Air Force should abandon its hastily conceived plans for Eielson Air Force Base at the present time.”

Murkowski will meet with Dr. Dorothy Robyn, Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Installations and Environment tomorrow to discuss the Defense Department’s the Air Force planned force structure changes.

The letter to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Dempsey is attached.

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