Panetta tells Begich he'll provide plan for Fairbanks base's future

Associated PressMay 11, 2012 

FAIRBANKS -- The Department of Defense will provide a long-term plan for missions at Eielson Air Force Base.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that's what Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told U.S. Sen. Mark Begich during a meeting Thursday in Washington, D.C.

Fears over the future of Eielson arose after the Air Force announced plans to move a squadron of F-16 fighter jets from the Fairbanks base to Anchorage.

According to a release from Begich's office, Panetta told the Alaska Democrat that he doesn't intend "to do a backdoor BRAC," which refers to the military's Base Realignment and Closure Commission procedure.

The commission had initially recommended closing Eielson during the last process in 2005.

Begich and U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski have complained that the Air Force hasn't provided sufficient information about transfer.

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