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Governor, delegation rally to stymie JBER cuts

The reduction of 2,600 soldiers from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson isn’t expected to begin for more than a year; Alaska officials hope that will be enough time to stop it, or at least mitigate the loss. Gov. Bill Walker Thursday pledged a campaign to retain Alaska’s military forces and attract new ones.

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan raised the issue at a confirmation hearing Thursday for the nation’s top military officer, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Sullivan told the nominee, Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, the Pentagon still has to write a military strategy for the Arctic.

“Does it make sense to cut any of America’s limited number of cold-weather trained warriors in the Arctic before this congressionally mandated strategy is completed?” Sullivan asked.

Dunford said he’d look into it.

“And the commitment I’d make to you is we will in fact develop an appropriate role for the military in support for our economic and political interests in the Arctic,” Dunford said.

Sullivan said this week he is blocking the confirmation of one assistant defense secretary until he gets answers from the Army about the troop cuts. Sullivan, though, said yesterday he’d support the joint chief’s nominee.

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