JBER personnel talk new runway project at Monday forum

Inside the Gates
JBER personnel speaks at 'Make it Monday' forum.
Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 8:04 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - It was a full house on Monday during the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce’s sold-out Make it Monday forum. This week’s forum, “Protect, Project and Power: Our Everyday Mission,” featured several guest speakers from Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson.

“There is no place like Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in the [Department of Defense] inventory,” Col. David Wilson, with the 673d Air Base Wing said.

Wilson said Alaska’s location puts JBER at the forefront of homeland defense, in addition to acting as a major mobility platform.

“If there were a conflict in the Pacific Theater of operation, JBER becomes a critical node, a major mobility platform that will be receiving forces from the Lower 48, into the theater, and back going the other direction,” Wilson said.

The speakers also shared their ongoing security efforts and highlighted new projects.

“We got one runway that oriented east-west, it’s about 10,000 feet, and that’s a really good size for fighter aircraft. It feels comfortable. The other runway is at 7,500 feet,” which JBER plans to extend another 2,500 feet to match the other runway, Col. Kevin Jamieson, with the U.S. Air Force, said.

“We’ll have two 10,000-foot runways,” Jamieson said. “That’s critical because it allows us to bring more capability in here. Especially as you think about dealing with things in the Arctic and out in the Pacific. But more importantly for the community. What that does is it orients us towards a north-south flow.

“... As we build this new runway, we’re working with the [Federal Aviation Administration] to redesign the airspace over Anchorage and that’s significant because the way we’re going to bring commercial travel in here, it’s going to be more efficient and effective to do so. It’s also going to make it safer between [civil-military operations].”

At the same time, military leaders wanted to express gratitude to Alaskans who help with JBER’s ongoing mission. Wilson said, unlike other bases that essentially shut down during a conflict, JBER’s activity increases dramatically in such an event.

“The notion of JBER getting slower during conflict is the opposite of what would actually happen,” Wilson said. “And we can’t do that without this community. ... We are totally dependent, we have a relationship with this community and I want to say a huge thank you to all of you here.”