Panetta: Eielson will not be closed


At a Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee meeting today, Senator Lisa Murkowski presented concerns about moving F–16 fighters from Eielson to the Secretary of Defense.

Murkowski laid out the wide range of Alaskan concerns and the potential shortcomings surrounding the Air Force proposal to move the Aggressor Squadron to Anchorage.

She closed by explaining the reasons many in Alaska see this as the beginning of a "Backdoor BRAC," and wanted to know what the real plan was.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said, "We have no intention of closing down Eielson. It's a very important base for us. It's important for air refueling.  It's important in terms of the role that we want to be able to play with regards to the Pacific.  Nothing that is being recommended here in any way is intended to impact Eielson as a future base for the Air Force."