PACAF’s Base Review in Eielson Calculus

The Air Force will consider any decision on whether to move the 18th Aggressor Squadron from Eielson AFB, Alaska, to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in the state in the context of the service’s goals in the Pacific theater, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh told the Daily Report. Pacific Air Forces just completed a strategic assessment of all the bases in its area of responsibility, said Welsh during an interview on his way back to Washington, D.C., from Alaska at the end of August. The Air Force leadership will review the findings this week. “We don’t want to make a short-term decision here,” said Welsh regarding Eielson. Alaska is a “unique place” for the Air Force due to its location and training ranges, he said. PACAF officials surveyed Pacific basing structure for the review and measured it against the service’s long-term plans for the region. In his talk with airmen at Eielson over the weekend, Welsh said, when asked about Eielson’s future, Air Force survey teams are determining what locations in the Pacific are suitable for F-35 strike fighter operations. “I would be surprised if Eielson wasn’t on the candidate list,” he said.