Senator: "Alaskans One Step Closer to Hearing Welcome Lightning in the Alaska Air"
Senator Lisa Murkowski today greeted the news from the United States Air Force that Eielson Air Force Base has been judged to be a "Preferred" base for two squadrons of F-35 II Lightning aircraft. During a conversation with the Alaska Delegation, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said that an environmental impact analysis process would now begin, that will result in an Environmental Impact Statement -- with a Record of Decision expected to be made publicly in the fall of 2015.
"Along with Fairbanks and the entire Alaska military community, I have to say that today's decision is an incredibly powerful reminder that General Billy Mitchell knew what he was talking about when he said Alaska is the most strategic military position in the world. I remain confident that the F-35s will bed down at Eielson Air Force Base at the end of this process, so that we can watch over the Asia-Pacific region -- the hotbed of our military's 21st century focus -- with 21st century weaponry. The F-35s are loaded with the latest sensor technology, weaponry, power and the ability to conduct stealth missions undetected by most radar systems for maximum impact.
"The potential one-two punch of F-35s with our F-22 fighters at JBER creates tremendous synergy for high-end training at the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, and would ensure Air Force pilots and joint force operators are the most capable and ready forces in the world.
"I am pleased that our military leaders see clearly Alaska's role in our national defense. Today, Alaskans are one step closer to hearing welcoming lightening in the Alaska air."