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Begich Disappointed DoD Not Putting F-35s in Alaska

Will ask Administration to explain process, evaluation

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich released the following statement after learning the Department of Defense will not be putting any of the first 250-300 aircraft of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) at any of Alaska's military bases:

"Given Alaska's important geographic and strategic advantages for the overall defense of our country, I am disappointed to learn that none of Alaska's Air Force bases were chosen as one of the preferred locations to base a portion of the Air Force's first 250-300 aircraft in the F-35 JSF. This is particularly disappointing since the Air Force indicated last fall that Eielson was on the "short list."

"The Air Force designed this current selection process to be more objective and less political than those in the past, and I appreciate that. But I still plan to inquire how this process was managed and that the advantages of Alaska's bases were clearly understood and taken into account in this decision.

"Knowing the Air Force plans to procure more than 1,700 F-35s in total and the next round of basing decisions will take place in 2013, we will continue to work with the DoD in my capacity as a Senate Armed Services member to see what opportunities are ahead for Alaska in the future."

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