Sitnews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska - News, Features, Opinions...


BRAC Recommendations Affect Bases in Alaska
Kulis, Eielson, Elmendorf and Fort Richardson On List


May 13, 2005

Today, Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), reacted to the announcement by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) that Alaska's Air Force bases would be realigned, that Kulis Air Guard Station will be closed and the Fort Richardson Army Post in Anchorage will be realigned.

jpg Eielson AFB Alaska

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE - Fairbanks, Alaska
Cope Thunder participants used Eielson Air Force Base's 62,000 square miles of training airspace and met their objective: to fly, fight and win during Pacific Air Force's premier combat airpower exercise that ended May 6th.
Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force

"The Secretary of Defense has made his recommendations to the BRAC on how to have a total realignment of our military installations.  These recommendations are that only and have yet to be finalized," said Stevens.  "We have never faced a base closure at the same time as we have tried to have a global realignment of forces.  We have to look at where troops are going and where they are coming from when we approach this process.  This is a long process which will take place over a number of years.  These changes will not take effect immediately"
Senator Stevens expressed his serious concern that the Secretary's recommendations included moving Eielson Air Force Base to a "warm base" status in which the A-10's and F-16's would be moved to bases in Georgia, Louisiana and Idaho.  He also expressed concern that Elmendorf Air Force Base would lose 24 of the assigned F-15 C/D aircraft and 21 of the assigned F-15E aircraft. 
"In the long run the only real disappointment is Eielson.  I intend to protest to the Base Closure and Realignment Commission.  Alaska has half the coastline in the United States and we have the perimeter that faces Asia and there will be fewer aircraft in Korea.  The units in Eielson's first line of duty was to reinforce our units in Korea, and now that we have reduced forces in Korea.  It doesn't make sense to me and I intend to go to the Commission and present that case.  I think it is wrong to leave our area without fighter protection and it is wrong from a national security point of view because the access to our nation from that part of the world is across Alaska, so it is just not a good decision," said Stevens.

Alaska Governor Frank H. Murkowski announced this morning that he will meet with community leaders in Fairbanks today to discuss the Department of Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission recommendations.
Senator Stevens reminds Alaskans that the BRAC list announced today does not reflect on-going force realignments that will positively effect Alaska.  These include:

  • Eight C-17's beginning to arrive in Alaska in 2008
  • 48 F-22's expected to begin arriving in Alaska in 2007
  • Additional Cope Thunder exercises planned for Eielson Air Force Base
  • The transition of the Airborne Battalion at Fort Richardson to an Airborne Brigade
  • Additional aviation units from Korea being moved to Fort Wainwright

The following military installations in Alaska will be effected:
Kulis Air Guard Station (Anchorage, Alaska) - Kulis will be closed as part of the BRAC process; the mission, aircraft and personnel will transfer to Elmendorf Air Force Base.   It is anticipated that the Air Guard Station will gain aircraft through a Guard/Active Associate Unit in this move and that the Anchorage Airport will gain much needed land.
Eielson Air Force Base (Fairbanks North Star Borough) - Eielson will remain open but will be realigned to a "warm base" position in which personnel and infrastructure, specifically aircraft, will be removed from the base and moved to other sites across the country.  The refueling tankers associated with the 168th Air Refueling Wing of the Alaska Air National Guard will remain at the base.  This realignment will mean a loss of 2,940 personnel from the base.
Eielson is currently home to the 354th Fighter Wing, and hosts units from the 168th Air Refueling Wing of the Alaska Air National Guard, a detachment of the 460th Air Force Technical Applications Center, the Arctic Survival School, the 353rd Combat Training Squadron and a detachment of the 632nd Air Force Office Special Investigations. 

Elmendorf Air Force Base (Anchorage, Alaska) - Elmendorf will be realigned to become a joint base with Fort Richardson and, will have aircraft and personnel from Kulis Air Guard Station, also in Anchorage.
Elmendorf is currently home to the 3rd Fighter Wing, the 517th Airlift Squadron and the 962nd Airborne Air Control Squadron.
Fort Richardson Army Post (Anchorage, Alaska) will be consolidated with Elmendorf Air Force Base and will have consolidated installation management functions.  Additionally, civilian personnel operations will be consolidated within the Army to Arizona.  These two consolidations will result in a total loss of 286 positions.
Fort Wainwright Army Post (Fairbanks, Alaska) will be realigned by moving the Cold Region Test Center to Fort Greely that was realigned in BRAC 1995.   
The timeline for the 2005 BRAC round is as follows:

May 16, 2005:  Not later than this date, the Secretary of Defense must publish in the Federal Register and transmit to the Congressional Defense Committees and the Commission, a list of the military installations that the Secretary of Defense recommends for closure or realignment.
July 1, 2005:  Not later than this date, the Comptroller General shall transmit to the Congressional Defense Committees, a report containing a detailed analysis of the Secretary of Defense's recommendations and selection process.
September 8, 2005:  Not later than this date, the Commission must transmit to the President a report containing its findings and conclusions based on a review and analysis of the Secretary of Defense's recommendations.
September 23, 2005: Not later than this date, the President shall transmit to the Commission and to the Congress,  a report containing the President's approval or disapproval of the Commission s recommendations.   If the President approves the recommendations, the recommendations are binding 45 legislative days after Presidential transmission or adjournment, unless Congress enacts joint resolution of disapproval.
October 20, 2005:  If the President disapproves the Commission's initial recommendations, the Commission must submit revised recommendations to the President not later than this date. 
Nov 7, 2005:  President's Approval or Disapproval of Revised Recommendations.  The President must approve the revised recommendations and transmit approval to Congress by this date or the process ends.  The recommendations become binding 45 legislative days after Presidential transmission or adjournment, unless Congress enacts a joint resolution of disapproval.
April 15, 2006:  Commission terminates.


Related News:

BRAC Recommendations Expected to Save Nearly $50 Billion Says DoD; Bases in Alaska on recommended close or realign list

On the Web:

Closure and Realinement Impacts by States pdf

Source of News:

Office of U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens
Web Site

Office of Alaska Gov. Frank H. Murkowski
Web Site


Publish A Letter on SitNews
        Read Letters/Opinions
Submit A Letter to the Editor

Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska