Governor Sean Parnell used strong words today to express his deep concern over the Air Force's Eielson Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which states a preferred alternative of relocating the F-16 Aggressor Squadron to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER), and downsizing Eielson Air Force Base.
"With a state that borders two nations -- a state that is considered the most strategically advantageous state in the nation with a footprint one-fifth the size of the Lower 48 - it is unconscionable that the Pentagon would move ahead with downsizing based on this completely inadequate EIS," Governor Parnell said.
"In considering only three alternatives, this draft EIS lacks the due diligence Alaskans and our nation deserve. With its stated goal of cost savings, the Air Force should consider other options, such as moving the 480th Fighter Squadron from Germany to Eielson, as I have asked them to do. Alaskans, our military, and all those impacted by the proposed action deserve a more complete and thorough analysis."
The draft EIS examined three alternatives: Base the Aggressor Squadron at JBER while temporarily deploying them to Eielson for 12 weeks a year; move the entire Aggressor Squadron permanently to JBER; or the "no action" alternative, which would leave the squadron at Eielson.
Earlier this year, Governor Parnell wrote to Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley, urging him to consider a fourth option: Retain the 18th Aggressor Squadron at Eielson, and relocate the 24 F-16 aircraft and associated personnel of the 480th Fighter Squadron from Spangdahlem Air Force Base in Germany to Eielson, to become part of the 354th Fighter Wing.