Pacific Air Forces released a report May 31 on the Air Force’s plan to move people and aircraft associated with the 18th Aggressor Squadron from Eielson AFB near Fairbanks, Alaska, to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, near Anchorage, Alaska.
Pacific Air Forces led a 26-member Site Activation Task Force team which traveled to both installations in April to study the overall impact of the F-16 squadron move scheduled for fiscal year 2013. The team validated that, after an initial outlay of $5.6 million in fiscal 2013, the move will result in manpower savings of 81 military positions and cost savings of $14.6 million over the next five years, through a combination of manpower and efficiency savings generated by consolidating operations and maintenance supervision overhead and base support functions.
The relocation is one part of the Air Force’s fiscal year 2013 force structure adjustments, which are designed to save approximately $8.7 billion of the Air Force’s $54 billion share of savings across the Future Years Defense Plan. The SATAF report specifically details actions needed to move the Aggressors in fiscal 2013 and details planning and incidental costs associated with this action.
Eielson hosts the only wing in the active duty Air Force that has only a single operational squadron. In addition to expected cost savings, this move would lead to more efficient operations by locating the F-16 Aggressor aircraft with their primary customers, the F-22 Raptors at Elmendorf. The F-16 Aggressors will retain the capability to operate from Eielson during exercises and as otherwise needed.
“Eielson Air Force Base is, and will continue to be, a valuable strategic location as part of the Total Force,” said Brig. Gen. Mark McLeod, Director of Logistics, Pacific Air Forces, and SATAF team lead. “The base will remain the home station for the Alaska Air National Guard’s 168th Air Refueling Wing and will provide critical training through the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex supporting major joint training exercises such as Red Flag, Distant Frontier and Northern Edge.”
In addition to the savings generated from the F-16 squadron move, the Air Force expects there will be additional savings based on proposed base operating support manpower adjustments in fiscal 2015. The estimated follow-on cost savings are projected to be approximately $90 million per year beginning in fiscal 2016, and $227 million across the FYDP. These savings are based on eliminating 749 military and 179 civilian manpower authorizations that analysis determined would no longer be needed at Eielson once the remaining infrastructure and support functions are adjusted after the Aggressor Squadron’s relocation. Savings resulting from the base operating support adjustments in fiscal 2015 will be further refined in future SATAFs.