WASHINGTON, D.C. – Alaskan Congressman Don Young released the following statement today regarding the U.S. Army’s force structure adjustments to bases across the United States, including Ft. Wainwright in Fairbanks and Joint Base Elmendorf – Richardson (JBER) in Anchorage:
“While I understand the need to draw down our forces, I am concerned by the decrease in troop levels at JBER. For quite some time, I have told the Department of Defense that all of Alaska’s bases are strategically important, especially when you consider our nation’s shift to the Asia-Pacific region,” Rep. Young said. “I am pleased that the Army has chosen to increase troop strength at Fort Wainwright, and firmly believe that more military forces all over Alaska make our nation safer.”
Throughout his 40 years in Congress, Rep. Young has been a tireless advocate for the military’s increased role in the state of Alaska, often quoting Gen. Billy Mitchell’s words that “Alaska is the most strategic place in the world.” Earlier this month, Rep. Young was successful in his request for a GAO report on Alaska’s strategic importance in this year’s House National Defense Authorization Act.
“This report will finally put the Department of Defense (DoD) on record with regards to Alaska’s future role in defending this nation. This report will not only show that Alaska is strategically located, but it will also remind DoD that Alaska is home to the training range of the future, the JPARC. While other ranges are getting smaller, Alaska’s training spaces are getting bigger and this added space is critical as the velocity of war continues to increase.”