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Begich Presses Air Force Chief of Staff to Reconsider Eielson Move

U.S. Senator Mark Begich met with General Mark Welsh, Chief of Staff of the Air Force today to express his ongoing opposition to the proposed relocation of the F-16s from Eielson Air Force Base (AFB). 

“I’ve been saying for months that this move doesn’t make sense from a budget perspective or from a national security perspective,” said Sen. Begich.  “I’m pleased the Air Force responded to my request to re-evaluate the base relocation plan.  New information, like a formal housing study released in August, shows that the Air Force was basing their original proposal on bad data.”

Senator Mark Begich and General Mark Welsh, Chief of Staff of the Air Force

Sen. Begich was already successful in preventing the Air Force’s original proposal to relocate   Eielson AFB in Fiscal Year 2013.   In June, the Air Force committed to re-evaluating the proposal to ensure affordability and feasibility.  Additionally, Senator Begich secured language in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 to strengthen existing laws preventing backdoor base realignments and closures (BRAC) and to ensure any future proposal is subject to congressional approval and formal analysis. 

“I am encouraged by today’s meeting with General Welsh and believe that he is now recognizing the relocation proposal is not as affordable or feasible as assumed last year,” said Begich.  “General Welsh recognizes that Congress won’t stand for backdoor BRACs and a number of laws enacted last year will prevent any back-handed attempt to “warm” Eielson AFB.  Eielson provides a strategic presence in the Asia-Pacific region and is critical to our national defense. I urged General Welsh to visit Eielson AFB so he can understand its military value first-hand.”

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