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Begich Meets with Secretary of the Air Force Nominee, Emphasizes Eielson

Calls for Focus on Prevention and Response to Sexual Assault in the Military

U.S. Senator Mark Begich emphasized the strategic importance of Eielson Air Force Base during a meeting this week with Deborah Lee James, nominee to be the Secretary of the Department of the Air Force. 

Sen. Begich reminded James about her critical role in the upcoming decision on the proposed transfer of F-16s from Eielson Air Force Base to Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson. Sen. Begich reiterated the recent acknowledgment by the Air Force Chief of Staff that there is strategic value at Eielson for its current missions and potential future F-35 basing in the Pacific Region.

“I made sure Ms. James knows that America needs Eielson and I invited her to visit Alaska to see first-hand the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex,” said Sen. Begich.  “I helped Ms. James understand that Alaska military facilities are critical to our national security and that our world-class training airspace is critical to ensure our warfighters are properly trained and ready to deploy.”

Sen. Begich also had a candid discussion with Ms. James about the issue of sexual assault in the military and shared with her the experience of the recent roundtable on military sexual assault he co-hosted with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.  The roundtable, held in Anchorage in August, highlighted the ongoing need for better enforcement and support for victims. 

Ms. James’ confirmation hearing is scheduled for September 19th before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

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