Air Force Generals Visit Alaska

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Air Force senior leaders are in Alaska as part of a tour of Arctic facilities.

The Air Force says its objectives are to prevent and deter conflict in the Arctic, and prepare responses to a range of challenges, including climate change.

Lieutenant General Ken Wilsbach, the commander of 'Alaskan Command', says leaders will observe training, missile defense, and cold weather operations.

The visitors from Headquarters Air Force and major commands have already visited Eielson Air Force Base here in the Interior.

They were at Joint Base Elmendorf- Richardson in Anchorage on Monday, and they plan stops in Canada and Greenland later this week.

General Ellen Pawlikowski, commander of Air Force Materiel Command, says one of the main reasons for the trip is to understand what the changing climate is doing to Air Force installations.

And Lieutenant General Mark Nowland of Headquarters Air Force in Washington DC, says that with changing climate and geopolitical conditions, Alaska will remain a strong focus for the military going forward.

"You know, one of the first things we did when we set this expedition up is we turned the map on its head and we looked at the map the way Alaskans look at the map. And strategically, General Mitchell understood geography. And he understood the importance of time-distance relationships. And I think the United States Air Force recognizes that also with the investments that we're making in Alaska. We're bringing the F-35 up to Eielson right here, and one of the reasons we're doing it is strategically, it's got the reach and the capability to increase our ability to respond to threats around the world."