Governor Comments on Eielson F-16 Decision
Commends Alaskans, Urges Pentagon to Strengthen Its Alaska Presence
October 2, 2013, Juneau, Alaska – Governor Parnell today expressed satisfaction with the U.S. Air Force’s announcement that it will not move the F-16 Aggressor Squadron from Eielson Air Force Base. Since learning of the proposed move, the governor has made a forceful case that the proposal would leave the state and nation vulnerable. He pressed the Air Force repeatedly to justify to Alaskans how the proposed F-16 move made sense.
“Strategically, this is the right decision for both Alaska and America,” Governor Parnell said. “While many played critical roles in today’s victory, I commend Alaskans, especially those in Fairbanks and North Pole, who banded together and worked tirelessly to make the case for Eielson. Make no mistake: Our nation’s security will remain stronger with today’s decision to keep our frontier and homeland protected.”
Last November, Governor Parnell wrote to the Air Force, urging an open and transparent assessment process, and requested multiple public meetings in the impacted communities. In July, the governor testified in person at a public hearing in North Pole to voice concern over the Air Force’s draft Environmental Impact Study.
The governor also recently traveled to the NORAD and USNORTHCOM headquarters in Colorado, where he met with Air Force officials and advocated for an increased role for Alaska in America’s strategic defense.
“As Arctic activity continues to increase, it’s vital that the Pentagon strengthens America’s military capabilities in Alaska,” Governor Parnell said. “Whether it’s moving F-35 fighters to Fairbanks, improving Arctic communications infrastructure, or growing the Coast Guard presence on Alaska’s western and northern shores, the State will continue to press for more homeland security assets for the nation’s largest geographic region, so we may continue to project military strength and protect our great republic.”