Murkowski Spotlights Financial Burden of Potential Eielson Move
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As Senator Lisa Murkowski continues to pursue answers surrounding the United States Air Force proposal to move the F-16 Aggressor squadron from Eielson Air Force Base, she is now challenging the Pentagon about the financial burdens such a move could impose on airmen. If the transfer takes place, it holds the potential to undercut the real estate market in Fairbanks while inflating property values surrounding Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson – with military personnel impacted possibly taking a loss on their house in the Interior and then buying a property near Anchorage at an inflated cost due to a spike in demand.
In a letter to Deputy Assistant Secretary of Air Force for Installations Kathleen Ferguson and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations Katherine Hammack, Murkowski writes, “In addition to serious concerns I have about whether this plan should go forward, I am concerned that these airmen would be financially burdened by this move. Historically, the Housing Assistance Program (HAP) was available to assist in scenarios similar to this.
“A recent visible use of this program was during the Base Realignment and Closure round during 2005. The program has not been authorized for any realignments since that time. Moreover, despite General Schwartz’s recent reference to the program, I understand the Air Force has not begun any of the required steps to begin the process for authorizing this program. My staff raised this issue during the Site Activation Task Force brief that occurred on May 31st.
“Because of omission of this important consideration in the Air Force’s proposal, I would appreciate answers to the following questions as soon as possible:
- What is the future plan for Eielson Air Force Base?
- Is there a plan to authorize HAP for airmen affected by the current realignment proposal should it occur?
- Within the fund that supports the HAP, how much money is currently available?
- How much additional funding would be needed for realignment from Eielson to JBER as proposed by the Air Force?\
The letter to the U.S. Army and Air Force is attached.