Begich Presses Air Force Leadership on Eielson Proposal
Calls incomplete information “inappropriate” and “unacceptable”
U.S. Sen. Mark Begich today continued his questioning of Air Force leadership and the proposal to move the F-16 Fighter Squadron from Eielson Air Force Base to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (J-BER).
In a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, of which Begich is a member, about the Department of Defense (DOD) Fiscal Year 2013 budget, Begich questioned Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley and Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force Gen. Norton Schwartz about the proposal and the lack of information that has been provided to Begich and others asking for cost savings and other information about the potential realignment.
“The problem is you are just now doing the full analysis to see what the savings are. I understand you did the table top, but what goes on in the Pentagon and what’s real are sometimes very different,” Begich said.
Begich said the Air Force has not even completed its site visit to Eielson and J-BER, and he has yet to see a detailed analysis of the cost savings and impact on personnel if the move were to go forward. He says the process is completely unacceptable as the Armed Services Committee is expected to mark up the DOD budget in May, but without adequate information.
“You should be able to tell us the impacts. For that not to be supplied to us is problematic…I’m assuming someone in the Pentagon had these discussions, this shouldn’t be new information, it should be readily available,” Begich told Donley and Schwartz.
Begich said the decisions on budgeting made now have long-term impacts to the military deployment of service, and the Air Force should not be moving forward on a proposal that impacts hundreds of military and civilian members of the Air Force. He reminded the Air Force leadership that they are still accountable to Congress.
The video exchange can be seen here.