Murkowski Introduces “America Needs Eielson Act of 2013”
At Outset of New Congress and With Public Hearings Upcoming, Senator Introduces Bill to Further Protect Air Force Base from Proposed Changes
WASHINGTON, DC – A day after she brought up the issue of Eielson Air Force Base with Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel and received his assurance he would personally look into it, Senator Lisa Murkowski today introduced S.152, the America Needs Eielson Act of 2013 to reinforce the many ways the nation needs Eielson Air Force Base at its current operational capacity or higher as the Defense Department embarks on a new geopolitical direction, focusing on the Asia-Pacific region.
The bill – designed to amplify the importance of Eielson AFB to our national security within the Pentagon and Congress – would restrict any troop or structure movements from occurring until at least four separate conditions are met:
1. The findings of the Commission on the Structure of the Air Force are released (scheduled release date: March 2014);
2. An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is completed on the proposed move of the F-16 Aggressor Squadron to Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson;
3. A Pentagon study is conducted on the Strategic Importance of Eielson Air Force Base.
4. A Record of Decision is released that explains how any proposed action is consistent with the findings of the EIS (#2) and the Pentagon study of Eielson’s strategic future (#3).
The bill further specifies that no personnel or equipment can be moved from Eielson Air Force Base until six months after the final hurdle has been overcome.
“America needs Eielson, plain and simple,” said Senator Murkowski. “It’s common sense to Alaskans, and it’s what the buttons and t-shirts read that we wore in 2005 when the Pentagon’s BRAC Committee considered and rejected a plan incredibly similar to the one the Air Force is considering now – by using the same faulty reasoning rejected by the 2005 BRAC. I’m proud that one of the first actions I am taking during this new 113th session of Congress is a testament to Alaska’s unique military relationship and our geographic advantage to defend and protect our nation from emerging threats.”
Murkowski urged Alaskans to express their views on the future of Eielson with the Air Force at public hearings that are scheduled to begin around the state during the month of February.