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Sen. Murkowski Secures $21.4 Million for Interior Alaska Training Range and Permanent Fix for Alaska Territorial Guard

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has secured $21.4 million for enhancements to the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex in Interior Alaska as part of a $636.3 billion Fiscal Year 2010 military appropriations bill that cleared the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee today.

"With these funds, the U.S. Military will be able to accomplish a number of projects including improving the road infrastructure throughout the complex, conducting environmental impact studies and procuring and installing instrumentation and equipment," Murkowski said. "These efforts will result in better access throughout the area as well as aid in providing U.S. and allied forces with the best training in the world when stationed in or deployed to Alaska to participate in Red Flag Alaska Exercises."

Following today's action by the subcommittee, the bill is scheduled for consideration by the full Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday. In addition to the training range project, the bill provides funding for the following items important to Alaska:
  • Alaska Air National Guard, Eielson AFB -- $1.3 million for the renovation and retrofit of 168th Air Refueling Wing hangar and support facilities to enhance its critical mission of providing the air bridge to the Pacific for U.S. Military Forces.
  • Fort Greely Post enhancements -- $1.1 million for Security and Information Technology enhancements. These enhancements would help Fort Greely to better carry out its mission of protecting the nation from foreign missile threats through the operation of the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense System.
  • Alaskan Command, Elmendorf AFB -- $1.95 million for improvements to the command and control capabilities of the Alaska Command.  This will allow for better communication and alignment with the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and enable the Alaskan Command to more effectively protect the sovereignty of U.S. airspace.
  • Two businesses, $1.5 million for Homer-based Kachemak Research Development which develops and fields security systems that scan the under carriage of vehicles as they enter secure areas/facilities; and $2.5 million for Anchorage-based Venture Ad Astra for its development of a system/network to enhance precision location, guidance, and navigational capabilities of U.S. weapons.
The legislation also amends the 2001 Defense Appropriations Bill to reinstate retirement benefits to members of the Alaska Territorial Guard, for their service during World War II.  The language is similar to that included in the Senate's version of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 restoring military retirement benefits to approximately 26 Alaska Territorial Guard (ATG) members whose service in the ATG was considered active duty service until the Defense Department reversed its position on the issue earlier this year. The defense authorization bill is currently under consideration by a House-Senate Conference Committee.

Posted Sept. 9, 2009

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