WASHINGTON, DC – Alaska’s Congressional Delegation today responded to the news that the U.S. Army has officially announced that it is delaying its decision to remove 2,600 soldiers from the 4-25 Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. In July 2015, the U.S. Army announced the reduction at JBER as part of a larger force-structure reduction from 490,000 to 450,000 troops. Since that announcement, a unified Alaska Congressional Delegation has fought to retain the 4-25 as a full brigade combat team, citing the unit’s strategic importance to our country’s national security.
“This is a good day for Alaska and a good day for America,” said Senator Sullivan. “Keeping the 4-25 intact has been a top priority of my first year in this U.S. Senate. I’ve relentlessly fought to have Alaska’s strategic importance recognized by the Obama Administration, senior military leaders, and my colleagues in the U.S. Senate. I’m particularly appreciative of Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, Acting-Secretary of the Army Patrick Murphy, and Chief of Staff of the Army General Mark Milley for rigorously evaluating the force posture of the Army in light of changing global national security threats. Because of this decision, the Army sent a strong message that America remains dedicated to our Rebalance to the Asia-Pacific, understands our leading role in the Arctic, and is unyielding in our support for our critical alliances with Japan and South Korea. It also sent a message that our communities in Alaska are the most supportive to our military in the country. We have more work to do and we will remain vigilant until the entire 4-25 stays in Alaska for good.”
“This is good news for Alaska – from the moment the Army proposed to eliminate the 4-25 Airborne Brigade I knew that it was shortsighted and the direction of world events would ultimately prove that,” said Senator Murkowski. “Whether measured by North Korea's provocative actions this month, our discomfort with Russia's military path, the need for troop strength to support the strategic balance to the Pacific, or emerging challenges in the Arctic, maintaining Army strength in Alaska right now is the right answer. I am proud of the delegation's concerted effort to work with the Army to maintain the 4-25 and will be working through the appropriations process to ensure this important capability is maintained into the future.”
“Overturning this shortsighted decision continues to be a process; one focused on informing our colleagues, working with the administration, and identifying the various areas where Alaska’s strategic military value has been overlooked or underestimated,” said Congressman Don Young. “I recently told the Acting Secretary of the Army Patrick Murphy that this decision should not be based on anything but the mission and the strategic value JBER’s 4-25 provides our Combatant Commanders. It’s clear, after announcing its decision to retain JBER’s force structure, that the Army has heard our message. While today’s announcement comes as great news for Alaska and the nation, we must not rest on our laurels. Instead, we must continue to fight to ensure this reduction is overturned so JBER’s 4-25 can continue its status as the only airborne brigade in the Pacific. I remain vigilant and continue to work to build certainty for our communities and military families through legislation I cosponsored, the POSTURE Act, which would set Army force structure numbers to levels that adequately reflect the global threat environment. I commend the steadfast efforts of both Senator Murkowski and Senator Sullivan, who actively leveraged their positions in the Senate to raise these issues to the highest levels.”
Click here to see Army's press release regarding JBER's 4-25.