Strategic Location on U.S. Soil
Eielson’s strategic proximity to both world-class training grounds and potential deployments fits well with the U.S. renewed focus on the Asia-Pacific. The rebalance of the nation’s military strategy with its renewed focus on the Asia-Pacific region, enhances Eielson’s strategic value. Alaska’s military installations are closer to many of the known or potential strategic hotspots of U.S. national security interests than existing locations of Department of Defense forces. Alaska is also well positioned to protect the America’s arctic interests, as well.
Shorter distances to these hotspots equate to faster response and lower costs. This is what the Air Force calls “Forward Presence.” The shift will rely on airpower’s unique characteristics – range, speed, and flexibility – to overcome distance and expand engagement, increase combat capability, and improve war fighter integration. Today’s geopolitical environment make the words of Brigadier General Billy Mitchell even truer today than when Mitchell spoke them in testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives in 1935. Mitchell’s words have been memorialized on a monument at Eielson Heritage Park.
“Alaska is the most central place in the world for aircraft, and that is true either of Europe, Asia or North America. I believe in the future, that he who holds Alaska will hold the world, and I think it is the most important strategic place in the world.” – Brigadier General Billy Mitchell, 1935
Eielson Air Force Base also provides a gateway to the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex (JPARC) which is the world’s largest joint air, land, sea, subsea, space, and electromagnetic training assets. In addition to the 67,000 square miles of airspace, JPARC offers 2,490 square miles of land space with 1.5 million acres of maneuver land and 46,000 square miles of sea surface, subsurface and overlying airspace in the Gulf of Alaska. JPARC enables joint training venues that support large Army-Navy-Air Forces exercises.