Alaska military projects receive $168M from 2024 National Defense Authorization Act

Inside the Gates
Alaska military projects receive $168M from 2024 National Defense Authorization Act
Published: Aug. 23, 2023 at 4:54 PM AKDT|Updated: Aug. 23, 2023 at 5:03 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - As tension grows in the Arctic, Alaska is becoming more of a focal point for military operations.

“What I’ve been trying to do literally since I arrived in the U.S. Senate was make the case to our leaders in the Pentagon just how important we are,” U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan said. “How strategically important the Arctic is, the [United States Indo-Pacific Command] is and they are finally starting to listen. We’ve had a very significant military build-up that’s been happening through these national defense authorization acts and this one that we just passed in the U.S. Senate is going to be more of the same.”

On July 27, the U.S. Senate took one step closer to solidifying Alaska as a critical place in the Arctic national security, passing the fiscal year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act. This included 33 provisions by Sullivan granting Alaska $168 million in military construction and equipment for Alaska and the Arctic.

On top of that, an additional $203 million was secured by Sullivan for a military construction project on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

“It really comes back to the father of the U.S. Air Force Billy Mitchell saying Alaska’s the most strategic place in the world and what I’ve been trying to do through these defense authorization acts, is make sure the military shows that with significant military construction, funding and investment,” Sullivan said.

The biggest chunk of money, $107.5 million, is set aside for the runway extension on JBER.

“I was told by senior military officials that is going to make JBER probably the most important strategic airbase in the world,” Sullivan said.

Some of the other more pricey projects to hit the list included:

  • $34 million for unaccompanied personnel housing at Ft. Wainwright
  • $7.9 million for a solider readiness center at Ft. Wainwright
  • $7 million for an ADAL alert crew facility at Hangar 18 on JBER
  • $6.1 million for a precision-guided missile complex at JBER

One of the other Alaska provisions that made the Fiscal 2024 NDAA list would allow military personnel to seek counseling from mental health professionals from outside of Alaska.

“When you see the young and women who serve in our military take their own lives, in our state, there’s nothing more heartbreaking — for them, for their families, for our country, for Alaska,” Sullivan said.

In town hall meetings last year, Sullivan was told by service members that access in Alaska to mental health services was tight with long wait times.

“My preference would be to have more of those services provided here in the state, but in the absence of that, the ability to actually go out of state to continue to get these services is still really important,” Sullivan said.